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
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Loved this. Proper spoken word story telling. Great songwriting, emotive delivery from someone I only got into after he died. 4/5
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
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.
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"
I get that he was a great talent but I'm not so hot on this album
Reminds me of Bob Dylan. Sounds like a storyteller.
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.
"hmm after i take another hit of this crack pipe maybe i should pick another album for the list" 1
Great lyrics should check out more
Thanks for letting me cry, Leonard
One of best witnesses of the era... might got stuck between two masterpieces, but it's still a very brilliant album.
Nick: not a fan
Creo que ya se había dicho, pero pues sí, grandes letras.
His voice is so not mainstream, but then neither is the writing... so yeah.
Que bello csm
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.
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.
Another solid classic by LC
I like this.
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.
A bit melancholic, but overall very pleasant to listen to.
Poesía de Cohen. Sólo por The Patisan ya se merece un 5.
Very relaxin and interesting lyrics.
Great album, loved it.
Bird on a wire ist songwriting-Maßstab!!!
Will never say no to Leonard. Another clsssic.
han bliver aldrig dårlig
Masterpiece. Love his poetry. Not as good as his debut (not sure any album is) but is still soooo good 9.5/10
Also love Leonard Cohen
Sometimes the jaw harp is super annoying but damn this is good.
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.
Difficile de donner moins que 5 étoiles au (allons-y) plus grand auteur-compositeur-interprète de la fin du 20e siècle.
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
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.
Great to see early Leonard Cohen catching his vocal wavelength occasionally, and the songwriting is superb as always.
Leonard is a treasure, even if its not his greatest work it is truly masterful in its own right
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
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.
This one surprised me. Some tracks actually cut deep and I find his voice chilling and dark. Other had a very fun charming quality
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... :)
This album is almost perfect, absolutely spellbinding. One of the best.
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.
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.
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.
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
Stark and stunning
Highlights: The Partisan, the butcher, the old revolution
Love his voice and his songs. Poetic and calming and still tension in the air
What an album for today I am passive towards life rn
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.
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.
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.
Listened to this while on a snow walk and disappeared into Cohen's story telling. Hauntingly beautiful.
What an album. Definitely has a nostalgic feel to it which I love.
Poesía de Cohen. Sólo por The Patisan ya se merece un 5.
I prefer Songs of Love and Hate, but its still a damn good album. His voice is beautiful. Closer to a 3.5
Good album, pretty somber but it wasn't my style
Great lyrics, great songs
I've never heard of the artist, but ended up impressed.
Sounds pretty different from the later stuff, but really good nonetheless
Beautiful. Enjoyed this way more than I expected!
less boring. bob had better songs, leonard had a better voice
Love lyrics and music
I liked this one pretty well.
Une deocuverte, different de ses derniers alb7ms. J’aime bien 4*
Thoughtful, slow, bit gloomy, beautiful lyrics
Super slow and sad.
Otro del bardo Cohen (?), me gustó menos que Songs of Leonard Cohen, pero sostengo que no es para mí. Hay momentos muy padres en el álbum, un gran letrista, pero por lo general, no me emociona tanto. La gran excepción (y mi canción favorita del disco) fue "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes". Fan de la canción, la letra, la instrumentación, la interpretación. 7.5/10
he doesn't have any bad albums. I prefer "songs of Leonard cohen" but this is still good.
Thought this would be a three as a bit slow, but very beautiful songs which stuck in my head
Enjoyed this album, easy listening while working. Great songwriting and voice, I'd take Cohen over Dylan any day of the week.
zZzZzZzZzZz (well, “You know who I am” was pretty cool, and has hit me quite hard. Serendipity is quite a thing, eh?)
Cohen hé. Je weet wat je kan verwachten :)
Está bueno pero no es su mejor disco, me parece. De todos modos es mejor que 3/4 partes de la mierda que salió en su año y la que sale en 2021.
Some of his best
Not his best but I still love any Leonard Cohen stuff
Net zoals een van de vorige albums, zou dit album beter tot zijn recht komen na meerdere keren luisteren. 3.5 sterren
Enjoyed this Cohen record, felt like a continuation of his first record for the most part, with his signature strumming and lyrics that can hit you like a brick ("I have tried in my way, to be free"). There's definitely a bit more country feel to it, though. Fav Tracks: Bird on a Wire, Story of Isaac, and The Partisan. Rating 3.5/5
A beautiful and melodic folk album. 8.3/10