11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the generally restrained, often bare arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s first three studio albums, New Skin for the Old Ceremony—Cohen’s fourth studio album—allowed for grander instrumentation. Producer John Lissauer and Cohen broke the spell at just the right moment. The opener, “Is This What You Wanted,” starts with a distinct level of defiance and the sound of drums clearly meant to surprise. “Chelsea Hotel #2”—Cohen’s parable regarding an encounter with Janis Joplin—remains the album’s best-known song and one of Cohen’s all-time finest, written with his guitarist Ron Cornelius. “Who by Fire” and “Take This Longing” further continued Cohen’s streak of writing solemn but spirited songs that felt timeless. “Lover Lover Lover,” “Field Commander Cohen,” and “Leaving Green Sleeves” (based on a reworking of the 15th-century folk song) demonstrated Cohen’s wilder (often humorous) side, which hadn't been overt on previous studio albums.

Apple Digital Master

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the generally restrained, often bare arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s first three studio albums, New Skin for the Old Ceremony—Cohen’s fourth studio album—allowed for grander instrumentation. Producer John Lissauer and Cohen broke the spell at just the right moment. The opener, “Is This What You Wanted,” starts with a distinct level of defiance and the sound of drums clearly meant to surprise. “Chelsea Hotel #2”—Cohen’s parable regarding an encounter with Janis Joplin—remains the album’s best-known song and one of Cohen’s all-time finest, written with his guitarist Ron Cornelius. “Who by Fire” and “Take This Longing” further continued Cohen’s streak of writing solemn but spirited songs that felt timeless. “Lover Lover Lover,” “Field Commander Cohen,” and “Leaving Green Sleeves” (based on a reworking of the 15th-century folk song) demonstrated Cohen’s wilder (often humorous) side, which hadn't been overt on previous studio albums.

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

parcoleo814 ,

New Skin, 39 years old

Leonard Cohen's body (and mind) of work is one of the signal achievements in poetry and music of the last 50 years. But he doesn't appear to act like someone who's impressed with himself. The art and the artist are humble. The modest but precise musical settings LC favors put his compositions and singing in a place that's stark yet warm, somewhat like the Mc Cabe & Mrs Miller movie that used LC's first record as its soundtrack. I wasn't familiar with this 1974 record New Skin, but it retains its force almost 40 years after release. LC's albums are all worthwhile, some are brilliant and indispensable. Although I've not heard NSFTOC enough to decide if it's indispensable, I do know it's an accomplished record, more than fitting for an eclectic, serious music person.

CFRiverdog ,

Stuff began here

Reading the wonderful biography of Leonard Cohen "I'm your man" by Sylvie Simmons as I listen, after so many years, to these incomparable songs.

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