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Songs From A Room

Leonard Cohen

1969

Songs From A Room
Album Summary

Songs from a Room is the second album by Canadian musician Leonard Cohen, released in 1969. It reached No. 63 on the US Billboard Top LPs and No. 2 on the UK charts.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.19

Votes

10207
Genres
Folk
Rock
Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Sat Apr 24 2021
4

Leonard Cohen's first album was an unqualified triumph which announced the arrival of a bold and singular talent, and many who heard it must have wondered what Cohen could do for an encore. By comparison, Cohen's second album, 1969's Songs from a Room, was something of a letdown. While it's a fine LP, it ultimately feels neither as striking nor as assured as Songs of Leonard Cohen. Bob Johnston stepped in as producer for Songs from a Room, and his arrangements are simpler than those John Simon crafted for the debut, but they're also full of puzzling accents, such as the jew's harp that punctuates several tracks, the churchy organ line in "The Old Revolution," and the harsh synthesizer flourishes on "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes." Johnston also had trouble coaxing strong vocal performances from Cohen; his singing here sounds tentative and his meter is uncertain, which regardless of how one feels about Cohen's much-debated vocal prowess is not the case with his other work. And finally, the quality of the songs on Songs from a Room is less consistent than on Songs of Leonard Cohen; as fine as "Bird on a Wire," "You Know Who I Am," "The Story of Isaac" and "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" may be, "The Butcher" and "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes" simply aren't up to his usual standards. Despite the album's flaws, Songs from a Room's strongest moments convey a naked intimacy and fearless emotional honesty that's every bit as powerful as the debut, and it left no doubt that Cohen was a major creative force in contemporary songwriting.

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Sat Feb 06 2021
3

I was actually dreading the inevitable Leonard Cohen album, since I feel he is kind of the epitome of a singer/songwriter who cares more about song than sound, a topic I discussed a few reviews back. And sure enough, the album was what I expected it to be: a collection of barely-sung poetic lyrics over simple music. What I didn’t expect was how much I didn’t hate it. The feeling I got was kind of like a more melancholy version of the way I felt about the Sinatra album: it was just a nice thing to have in the background that doesn’t really intrude. My only disappointment was the lyrics. All the reviews and notes refer to his wit and wordsmithing in superlative terms, but honestly I feel like a lot of more recent lyrics, especially rap lyrics, are more impressive. He does tell a good story through. My personal enjoyment: 2.5/5 Did it belong on this list: 5/5

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Tue May 18 2021
4

Cohen is so very good at the melancholy thing, and I love it. On later albums he gets even better, as his voice ages he grows into it more and it's just beautiful. This album is a lovely listen, full of stories. I enjoyed it lots. I thin it only misses out on being a 5 because I know he gets even better.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

What an album! Always heard the hype but never really listened to Cohen--I understand now. A great listen, I can picture a recently divorced man who lost everything but his sense of self sitting on the porch smoking a cigarette on a cold gray winter morning. Calmer and muted for a 5 rating for me but truly there's no reason not to give it its due.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
4

"The Partisan" is a hauntingly beautiful song. I really appreciate the song-writing quality of Cohen. Very much in the same vein as Dylan, you're listening for the poetry and the lyrics more than the flow of the music.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
1

"hmm after i take another hit of this crack pipe maybe i should pick another album for the list" 1

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

Loved this. Proper spoken word story telling. Great songwriting, emotive delivery from someone I only got into after he died. 4/5

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Sun Aug 15 2021
4

Another brilliant Leonard Cohen album. I love the spare arrangements. Songs are all memorable. His idiosyncratic voice is perfect to express the beautiful lyrics. 4.5 stars

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Wed Jun 02 2021
3

I do love Leonard Cohen, even if in the grander context of 70s Folk icons he falls behind the likes of Dylan and Joni. This album in particular has some of his most stripped back and bare songs that hit hard like 'Seems So Long Ago, Nancy'. Also, there is The Partisan which might be my fav Leonard song. The rest of the album is a little hit or miss for me.

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Mon May 10 2021
3

Another excellent record from Leonard Cohen with a couple of all-timers in the mix. It feels of apiece with Songs of Love and Hate. Musically, it's very stark, and the lyrics standout more than any of the melodies or arrangements. It kind of makes it difficult to grade on a similar scale as other albums on here that are more musically interesting because it feels like it's a different artform altogether. This isn't a record I have a lot of experience with and I suspect my appreciation will stretch and deepen over time the more the lyrics sink in, as is the case with many of his records. For now, it's siting comfortably at a 3.5. Favourite songs: "Bird on a Wire" and "The Partisan"

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Tue Jun 08 2021
3

I get that he was a great talent but I'm not so hot on this album

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Tue Jun 01 2021
3

Reminds me of Bob Dylan. Sounds like a storyteller.

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Fri Dec 10 2021
2

Another Cohen album, another review that says pretty much the same thing. Namely that, while Cohen was a world-class songwriter, his songs are best when someone else performs them. He really can't sing and the guitar playing on this album is pretty dismal as well. At first listen, there's nothing to really recommend the album... until you really listen to the lyrics. Because those are brilliant. Shame Cohen can't perform worth a damn.

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Sun Oct 22 2023
2

It’s cool that the generator keeps recommending these bleak-ass Leonard Cohen records on Saturdays. Really great way to kick off the weekend…super cool.

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Wed Sep 16 2020
5

Great lyrics should check out more

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Fri Sep 18 2020
5

Thanks for letting me cry, Leonard

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

One of best witnesses of the era... might got stuck between two masterpieces, but it's still a very brilliant album.

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Tue May 11 2021
5

Creo que ya se había dicho, pero pues sí, grandes letras.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
5

His voice is so not mainstream, but then neither is the writing... so yeah.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

Que genialidad Leonard Cohen, y como se reinventó en su cambio de voz. Escuchás las canciones de este disco y las comparás con los mas nuevos y pensás que es otro cantante directamente. Espero hayan mas discos de el en la lista. Particularmente este disco no es de mis favoritos pero no es malo bajo ningun punto de vista. Además está The Partisan que es uno de sus mejores temas. Entiendo como a la gente podria no gustarle pero bueno. Nada, loco. Hizo el hallellujah, no jodamos.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

Lo adoro profundamente pero no tengo la cabeza puesta para escucharlo ahora. Tiene un tono de voz y unas letras, como las de Tom Waits, que me llevan a un lugar al cual no tengo muchas ganas de ir ahora. El disco es espectacular, ya lo había escuchado hace mucho pero no lo voy a escuchar todo ahora. 10/10 ludomatics.

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

I don't think I've ever heard a bad Leonard Cohen album and this is just as good. Just completely heartfelt and it makes me feel so many emotions, grief and joy and elation and sadness, over and over.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

A bit melancholic, but overall very pleasant to listen to.

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Sun Oct 31 2021
5

Poesía de Cohen. Sólo por The Patisan ya se merece un 5.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Very relaxin and interesting lyrics.

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

Bird on a wire ist songwriting-Maßstab!!!

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

Will never say no to Leonard. Another clsssic.

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Sat Apr 16 2022
5

Masterpiece. Love his poetry. Not as good as his debut (not sure any album is) but is still soooo good 9.5/10

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Sun May 01 2022
5

Sometimes the jaw harp is super annoying but damn this is good.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

The difficult second album: a quick primer. One phenomenon critics are wont to diagnose is that of the difficult second album, of a lesser album following a sledgehammer of a debut. Critics are also swift to attribute this to the shift in gear a successful debut imposes: you have your whole life to write your first one, and one year for your second. And critics routinely admit a failing on their part: oft the second album isn't that bad, but they see it as diminished when stood against the first. Now, large parts of that earlier paragraph are bollocks. Some groups peak with their debut, of course, but some require time and succour to blossom fully: Second Coming may not have equalled The Stone Roses, but the Happy Mondays' first album, Squirrel and G Man 24 Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile White Out, proved the working prototype for the Mondays' future glories. Also, the first paragraph is a touch slanderous on critics; at least the critic knows the other albums. Anyway, Leonard Cohen's second album, Songs from a Room, is excellent, but not as good as his first. This makes it sound as if Songs from a Room perhaps lacks some of the majesty or the power of Songs of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen's first album, when it doesn't. Nor is the songwriting a step down; Leonard Cohen was glaringly one of the great songwriters to emerge in the 60s, Bob Dylan's morose brother, the main dispute being who felt more breasts. I have since got drunk, and have concluded that this would be a five-star album in the hands of any other. Just because I incrementally prefer the first to the second doesn't mean this in any way disappoints in how it blends the sacred with the base, or how Bird on the Wire nods to Bukowski, or how The Story of Isaac answers Highway 61 Revisited by reminding us that God left Isaac tormented with the threat of murder. So, a five-star album. Perhaps not as immediately brilliant as the first, but I have persuaded myself. I feel rather mature.

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Wed May 11 2022
5

Difficile de donner moins que 5 étoiles au (allons-y) plus grand auteur-compositeur-interprète de la fin du 20e siècle.

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Austérité. Esotérisme. Prefs: Bird on the Wire, Story of Isaac, A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes, The Partisan, Seems So Long Ago, Nancy, The Old Revolution, The Butcher, You Know Who I Am, Lady Midnight, Tonight Will Be Fine Moins pref: Rien

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Fri Jun 03 2022
5

was already a top 100 album of all time for me coming into this. depending on the day it can eek up into the top 30 or so. amazing lyricism. such simple melodies and yet, every mood leonard is trying to transfer to the listener comes crashing through. absolutely wonderful album.

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Sun Jun 26 2022
5

Great to see early Leonard Cohen catching his vocal wavelength occasionally, and the songwriting is superb as always.

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Tue Jul 05 2022
5

Leonard is a treasure, even if its not his greatest work it is truly masterful in its own right

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Sun Jul 24 2022
5

amazing album it’s a trip hearing early Leonard Cohen, back when his voice was higher and he pretty much sounded identical to Nick Cave the production was a lot nicer than his first album but I think the quality of the songs are pretty much just as amazing definitely a 10/10 for me

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

22nd July 2022 Listened on Friday but finished on Saturday. Had Seb and Justo to stay for the weekend, Fromebridge, Stroud Market and the Woolpack. Just beautiful, I could listen to Leonard Cohen all day every day.

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Thu Aug 04 2022
5

This one surprised me. Some tracks actually cut deep and I find his voice chilling and dark. Other had a very fun charming quality

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

I don't really like Leonard Cohen's music, however I do like many "similar" music. This album was good. It is a 4 for me, but I give it a 5 because The Partisan made me pick up the guitar during work hours... :)

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

This album is almost perfect, absolutely spellbinding. One of the best.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

Favourite track(s): A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes; Seems So Long Ago, Nancy; The Old Revolution Cohen's vocals are just so humane - as if he was telling stories to a friend. The guitar and bass guitar are the perfect accompaniment, supporting but never taking the spotlight. The first album of the project which I enjoy without reservation.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

Day 2!! Loved loved loved Songs from a Room by Leonard Cohen. I played it in the car and my mom immediately recognized and loved the album. I can definitely see how this 1969 work of art influenced future artists.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

There are ten songs here. For me, six of them are worth 5-stars, so I rate the album similarly. I love his poetry and there’s plenty to enjoy here. Opening with Bird On The Wire sets a pretty high bar. On the surface, it’s addressed to a lover that he’s not treating well, but it’s so much more than that. As is the other great love song - You Know Who I Am. He loves using the word naked, as he does here and also in the more light-hearted Tonight Will Be Fine. Then there are the songs addressing war and the youth. I assume he wrote a lot of these songs in 1968, when the anti-war movement in the U.S. was at it’s peak. The biblical Story Of Isaac and The Butcher fit in here. The Partisan, which he didn’t write, was an unofficial anthem of the Free French in WW2. I only saw him once, in early 1980, at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. It was his first tour to Australia. And the only other concert I’ve attended where emotions were so high was the first Brian Wilson concert at the State Theatre early this century. The love for the performer was palpable. I remember that people were constantly screaming requests, and I remember that a lot of them were for Nancy. For me it is one of his greatest compositions. Love this album.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

Wow. Such a good album. I know many see it as not as good as his first album (Songs of Leonard Cohen), I would take a sophomore effort by Leonard Cohen over the vast majority of albums out there. Powerful, austere, spiritual, melancholy. It's hard to date by its sound because the production is so minimal and therefore always feels fresh and relevant to me. 5/5

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Wed Oct 12 2022
5

Highlights: The Partisan, the butcher, the old revolution

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Wed Oct 26 2022
5

Love his voice and his songs. Poetic and calming and still tension in the air

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

What an album for today I am passive towards life rn

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Fri Dec 30 2022
5

I'm stealing the imagery from the producer and saying that to me, this album is a painting. The simplicity and starkness is done beautifully without a hint of arrogance. I love the unusual voice and poetry and composition of LC's music always. This second album is no exception. I love all of his music equally so every LC review will be extremely positive but one great thing that comes from still reviewing them for this is all of the Wikipedia research... Cohen's albums always have the best background stories about where the inspo came from and his comments etc. Honestly always better than any other artists Wikipedia pages. I'm learning lots of fun and interesting facts but also getting inspo for how to go about song writing for myself.

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Sat Jan 07 2023
5

Kan inte riktigt bedöma det här. The Butcher är fortfarande en skitlåt och en del andra håller inte riktigt måttet, men plattan har ju varit med mig sen tonåren. Och så är bästa versionen av La complainte du partisan med vilket förlåter det mesta.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
5

Hauntingly beautiful poetry and understated instrumentation combine to produce a deeply emotional and poignant album. Every song is a piece of Cohen's soul triple distilled, served to your ears in its most refined and perfect state for your hearing pleasure.

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Sun Jan 22 2023
5

Listened to this while on a snow walk and disappeared into Cohen's story telling. Hauntingly beautiful.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

စကားပြောသော သီချင်းများ

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Fri Feb 03 2023
5

This became a personal favourite of mine

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Mon Feb 06 2023
5

What an album. Definitely has a nostalgic feel to it which I love.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

so wonderfully flawed, out of tune and even more intimate for it. maybe I am alone in this, there is something playuful & humourous, even hilarious, as well as a soothing. Its not melancholy - more a lugubrious tone, hence playfyully sleepy, lulling. and then, at times, its like a Nick Cave lyric pops up... original. I need MORE COHEN, not less. adding nhim to my new listening pile, alone with Serge Gauinsbourg.

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Mon Feb 27 2023
5

Poesía de Cohen. Sólo por The Patisan ya se merece un 5.

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Mon Apr 03 2023
5

I was sceptical at first but this one is really beautiful

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Sat Apr 22 2023
5

A musicalidade presente na construção dos versos cria uma sensação que ritmo que se apresenta para manter a atenção. Assim, escutar as músicas é sentir fortemente a mistura de tristeza, alegria e euforia.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
5

Some nice Leonard Cohen with a lot of mouth harp. Boing-boing-boing.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
5

I found it interesting that this album felt different and distinct from Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs of Love and Hate, which were previous listening assignments in this project. While those two albums hit me immediately, these seemed to be songs to savor, and I was happy that I was able to listen to them a few times, finding new things each time and growing deeply in my appreciation for them. The songwriting really shone through this one, where the instrumentation and the vocals were quite simple. I probably shouldn't say it quite like that, as the classical guitar work is masterful, but it gets to shine through brightly here with the occasional Jew's harp accompaniment. Just as an example, each time I listened to "Story of Isaac" I was knocked over at a new bit of the message it gave, using the Biblical story in a way that blew my mind. There's a good reason so many artists have performed these wonderful songs.

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Sat Apr 29 2023
5

One of the best records ever recorded.

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Fri May 12 2023
5

Cohen wrote many great albums and this is definitely one of them. While other albums might contain better and more famous songs this one here really shows why he's such a great song writer. He doesn't need cheap rhymes or a great singing voice to lure you into his musical world.

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Thu May 18 2023
5

the best lyricist of his or any generation. the instrumentation is unobtrusive, letting you really revel in the poetry. the partisan is one of my favorite songs ever written, and bird on the wire is also up there. i can’t name other highlights here because every song brings something new and tragic and beautiful.

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Thu May 18 2023
5

Simple yet deep. Definitely the kind of album that benefits from additional listens. Nothing to complain about. It’s my favorite album that prominent incorporates a jaw harp.

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Sat May 20 2023
5

5/5 Love his voice. Huge fan of Leonard

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Wed Jun 21 2023
5

This is one of my favorite Leonard Cohen albums I've heard. I think it's much more dynamic than his debut and he seems to have a bit more humor in his lyrics than on other albums. I really enjoyed this one and went back to listen to it multiple times throughout the day. Standout Tracks: Bird On a Wire, Story of Isaac, A Bunch of Lonesome Heros, The Partisan, The Old Revolution, Tonight Will Be Fine

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Wed Jul 12 2023
5

Goddamn it, Leonard Cohen! You've stolen my heart.

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Thu Jul 20 2023
5

Premier storyteller of the early rock age!

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Sun Aug 06 2023
5

One of the greatest records in my collection. Deep and thoughtful and dark.

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Thu Aug 17 2023
5

I don't really know many songs of this type but I really liked this album ! And in bonus, a song with some french... It's a hit !

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Fri Aug 25 2023
5

Slow, hypnotic, story like songs

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Fri Sep 29 2023
5

I mean… c’mon. Favorite tracks: a bunch of lonesome heroes, the partisan, seems so long ago, nancy; the old revolution! The butcher (beautiful). All of them… DAMN… Lady Midnight MEEE! Etc etc. 5 stars. Anyone surprised?

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Mon Nov 13 2023
5

I can't imagine another album that is going to surpass this one. Leonard Cohen's poetry and singing... They just never get old

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Sun Nov 26 2023
5

New album for me but not new songs. His poetry is lovely and there are many amazing exams here. His voice hasn't dropped and is still smooth, but totally hypnotic.

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Fri Dec 15 2023
5

I need to listen to more Leonard cohen.

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