Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen | 886970474122 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Songs of Love and Hate [Bonus Tracks]

Songs of Love and Hate [Bonus Tracks]

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by Leonard Cohen
     
 

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Teeming with self-loathing, self-doubt, and spiritual and sensual desolation, its arrangements often driven by the furious, unceasing strumming of a gut-string guitar, Leonard Cohen's aptly titled Songs of Love and Hate draws blood at every turn -- and most of it is his. Following two acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful albums that left him questioning not

Overview

Teeming with self-loathing, self-doubt, and spiritual and sensual desolation, its arrangements often driven by the furious, unceasing strumming of a gut-string guitar, Leonard Cohen's aptly titled Songs of Love and Hate draws blood at every turn -- and most of it is his. Following two acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful albums that left him questioning not only his artistry but his very raison d'être, Cohen takes himself to task mercilessly. In the driving desperation of the album-opening "Avalanche," he describes himself as a "hunchback" and "a cripple," spitting invective at a lover whose empathy elicits only withering putdowns. As lush, hushed strings wash over his spite in "Last Year's Man," as an eerie, chanting children's chorus surfaces at the song's end, Cohen invokes biblical references and his über-muse, Joan of Arc, in a quest to understand the absence of spiritual balm at a time when all inspiration has fled ("The rain falls down on last year's man / an hour has gone by / and he has not moved his hand"). In "Dress Rehearsal Rag" he eviscerates himself incrementally (again with the haunting voices of that children's chorus chanting dirge-like at the end), starting with his own celebrity ("'Where are you golden boy, where is your famous golden touch?'"); on it goes, verse by verse, each one a more caustic commentary on what he's become, as writer and lover, until finally this eternal spiritual searcher and sometime skeptic belittles his own quest with the sarcastic query, "Why don't you join the Rosicrucians / they can give you back your hope..." And yet, at the end, there is a hint of light, in a plaintive query at the close of a wry, folkish "Joan of Arc." Good luck in getting there.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Songs of Love and Hate is one of Leonard Cohen's most emotionally intense albums -- which, given the nature of Cohen's body of work, is no small statement. While the title Songs of Love and Hate sums up the album's themes accurately enough, it's hardly as simple as that description might lead you to expect -- in these eight songs, "love" encompasses the physical ("Last Year's Man"), the emotional ("Famous Blue Raincoat"), and the spiritual ("Joan of Arc"), and the contempt in songs like "Dress Rehearsal Rag" and "Avalanche" is the sort of venom that can only come from someone who once cared very deeply. The sound of the album is clean and uncluttered, and for the most part the music stays out of the way of the lyrics, which dominate the songs. Thankfully, Cohen had grown noticeably as a singer since his first two albums, and if he hardly boasts a range to rival Roy Orbison here, he is able to bring out the subtleties of "Joan of Arc" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" in a way his previous work would not have led you to expect. And while Bob Johnston's production is spare, it's spare with a purpose, letting Cohen's voice and guitar tell their stories and using other musicians for intelligent, emotionally resonant punctuation (Paul Buckmaster's unobtrusive string arrangements and the use of a children's chorus are especially inspired). And Songs of Love and Hate captured Cohen in one of his finest hours as a songwriter, and the best selections (especially "Famous Blue Raincoat," "Joan of Arc," and "Love Calls You by Your Name") rank with the most satisfying work of his career. If Songs of Love and Hate isn't Cohen's best album, it comes close enough to be essential to anyone interested in his work. [In 2007, Sony BMG began reissuing Leonard Cohen's back catalog in remastered and expanded editions, including an upgraded version of Songs of Love and Hate. The disc includes a bonus track, an alternate version of "Dress Rehearsal Rag" that had been recorded during the sessions for 1969's Songs from a Room. It's dominated by the same uncertain vocal delivery and curious arrangements that flawed that album, though it certainly makes for an interesting comparison to the later take on Songs of Love and Hate. The new disc comes in a deluxe book-style package that includes song lyrics, additional artwork and photos, and an essay on the album from music journalist Anthony DeCurtis.]

Product Details

Release Date:
04/24/2007
Label:
Sony Legacy
UPC:
0886970474122
catalogNumber:
704741
Rank:
24288

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Leonard Cohen   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar
Ron Cornelius   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Bubba Fowler   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bass
Paul Buckmaster   Conductor
Charlie Daniels   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Fiddle
Bob Johnston   Piano
Michael Sahl   Strings
Corlynn Hanney   Vocals

Technical Credits

Leonard Cohen   Composer,Artwork,Additional Music
Paul Buckmaster   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Ed Hudson   Engineer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Ed Kollis   Engineer
Neil Wilburn   Engineer
Bill Donovan   Engineer
Anthony DeCurtis   Liner Notes
John Berg   Cover Design
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction

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