31 Songs, 2 Hours 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though he began his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard Cohen’s transition to song was easier than his limited singing skills might suggest. Never one blessed with great range or exceptional timbre, Cohen played to these weaknesses and made them his strengths, evoking humility and an aching sadness in his meticulously detailed stories of hope and doom. This hand-picked 31-track collection from the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee traces his career from ‘60s troubadour to modern day prophet of love and apocalypse. “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” are virtually standards. But Cohen’s catalog is extensive and satisfying, and his later work in the 1980s and beyond — when his voice deepens to a Biblical croak and his arrangements settle into an unusual, synthetic dance with death — are filled with stunning imagery and unsettling conclusions. “First We Take Manhattan” sounds like a spy film gone awry. “Democracy” and “The Future” deliver hope while flirting with the notion that all time is uncertain. Later tracks such as “Alexandra Leaving” and “A Thousand Kisses Deep” prove you’re never too old to find the romance in longing and love.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though he began his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard Cohen’s transition to song was easier than his limited singing skills might suggest. Never one blessed with great range or exceptional timbre, Cohen played to these weaknesses and made them his strengths, evoking humility and an aching sadness in his meticulously detailed stories of hope and doom. This hand-picked 31-track collection from the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee traces his career from ‘60s troubadour to modern day prophet of love and apocalypse. “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” are virtually standards. But Cohen’s catalog is extensive and satisfying, and his later work in the 1980s and beyond — when his voice deepens to a Biblical croak and his arrangements settle into an unusual, synthetic dance with death — are filled with stunning imagery and unsettling conclusions. “First We Take Manhattan” sounds like a spy film gone awry. “Democracy” and “The Future” deliver hope while flirting with the notion that all time is uncertain. Later tracks such as “Alexandra Leaving” and “A Thousand Kisses Deep” prove you’re never too old to find the romance in longing and love.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
224 Ratings

224 Ratings

SilentSimpleton ,

Younger people will like 2nd album.

Cohen picked these songs b/c they show his evolution. He went from sort of grungy and folksy to smooth and jazzy. His voice changed, his flow changed. I like the second album a lot. I'm from the younger generation. I didn't know him until 2006. You may want to download "I'm your man" and 'A Thousand Kisses Deep" before buying the whole album.

FracturedFlicks ,

Not an accurate summation of the artist's work

It leaves out far too many early tracks, sticking with perennials & oodles of later material.
By track 12 on the first (of two) discs, we've already covered the 60's & 70's material. "Death of a Lady's Man" is completely overlooked & "Recent Songs" is woefully under-represented. If you own the Springsteen or Neil Diamond "Essentials" collection, you'll notice a similarity (which is comprehensible from a marketing stand-point)- leaving out essential tracks so the individual albums aren't obsolete. Just buy the original albums- the aftertaste I've gotten off these compilations with a woefully selective memory is diet-caffeine-free-esque!

zee monsta ,

Great Album & Perfect Choice For New Listeners

This is a great album, and though I do agree it left out a lot of the good tracks, it's a really nice compilation for people who are not familiar with his works. This was my first Cohen album, I have since purchased more. If your looking to buy someone a gift, this would be a perfect choice for new fans.

More By Leonard Cohen

You May Also Like