Ten New Songs

Ten New Songs

This long-in-coming collection, nine years after his previous studio release 1992's The Future, features (as advertised) ten new songs co-written with arranger, producer and performer Sharon Robinson, and while it's her suitably minimalist instrumentation and softening background vocals that create the sympathetic landscape for Cohen to prowl, it's still Cohen's showcase. It's his God-awoken-from-a-deep-sleep vocals coupled with lyrics that sound as if they've come from centuries before (even when they admit to ""turning tricks"") that make these romantic odes so definitive. In another's hands these songs would fall easily into the cliches of soft-rock, but Cohen is too idiosyncratic, too deliberately weird and obscure, and too literate and aware to allow cliches to eclipse his soul and insight. There's an edgy competitive streak to "A Thousand Kisses Deep," an unquenchable sense of loss to "Alexandra Leaving" and "You Have Loved Enough," and a stubborn refusal to give up in "In My Secret Life" and "That Don't Make It Junk" that make Cohen's musical vision impossible to dismiss.

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