Ten New Songs

Ten New Songs

4.5 7
by Leonard Cohen
     
 
Plenty of artists have gone on very public spiritual quests, only to apply them, ever so briefly, to their art before moving on to the next fleeting interest. Leonard Cohen, however, clearly found what he was looking for when he began training at a California Zen Buddhist monastery several years ago, and that's profoundly apparent on his first new album in nearly nine

Overview

Plenty of artists have gone on very public spiritual quests, only to apply them, ever so briefly, to their art before moving on to the next fleeting interest. Leonard Cohen, however, clearly found what he was looking for when he began training at a California Zen Buddhist monastery several years ago, and that's profoundly apparent on his first new album in nearly nine years. As its title indicates, Ten New Songs is pure, plainspoken Cohen, free of any frills that might distract from the prose poems within. It may well be the sexagenarian singer-songwriter's most spare, unadorned album to date, with minimal synthesizer daubings (from Sharon Robinson, who also co-wrote most of the songs here) forming virtually the only accompaniment. Such subtlety only heightens the impact of desolate songs like "A Thousand Kisses Deep," which looks askance at the pleasures of the flesh, and "That Don't Make It Junk," a song that praises the reclamation of spiritual debris. Through it all, Cohen's raspy voice, which has grown even more frayed with the passage of time, serves as the perfect vessel for carrying these burnished gems. There's much to unravel in pieces like "In My Secret Life," but the point is to join in the process of unraveling, whether or not you eventually reach the "answer" within.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
"I'm back on Boogie Street," declares Leonard Cohen on two different songs in this collection, titled with characteristic understatement Ten New Songs. (Previous album titles have included Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs from a Room, and Recent Songs.) More poet than musician, Cohen has, since his early albums, tended to rely on collaborations with musicians to put together his music: John Lissauer on 1974's New Skin for the Old Ceremony, Henry Lewy on 1979's Recent Songs, and, notoriously, Phil Spector on 1977's Death of a Ladies' Man. On Ten New Songs, his partner is former backup singer Sharon Robinson, who co-wrote "Everybody Knows" on 1988's I'm Your Man and earns co-writing credit on all the material here. She has also conjured the musical backgrounds ("All tracks arranged, programmed, and performed by Sharon Robinson," reads the credit), and she harmonizes with Cohen throughout. But all collaborators (even Spector) are in the service of Cohen's poetic vision, which remains the dominant element on this elegiac set. After a restatement of purpose on "In My Secret Life," he turns in a moody set of reflections on decline, even alluding to fellow poet Robert Frost's famous Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening in "A Thousand Kisses Deep": "And maybe I had miles to drive/And promises to keep/You ditch it all to stay alive/A thousand kisses deep." The songs are full of leave-taking, with titles like "Alexandra Leaving" and "You Have Loved Enough" accurately describing the tone, concluding with the prayer-like valedictory "The Land of Plenty," which gently remonstrates with the consumer society the poet has always engaged and rejected: "May the lights in the land of plenty/Shine on the truth some day." Even in the quietude of Cohen's catalog, the result seems like a coda.
Rolling Stone
Ten New Songs manages to sustain loss's fragile beauty like never before and might just be the Cohen's most exquisite ode yet to the midnight hour.
Village Voice
The first four tracks...[are] as powerful as any he's written.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/09/2001
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998595323
catalogNumber:
85953
Rank:
26586

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Ten New Songs 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
KNIGIMUSICAITD More than 1 year ago
lOVED IT! I FOUND IT SOOTHING AND EMOTIONAL :) Thank You LEONARD :) for The WONDERFUL CD ! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leonard Cohen is an aquired taste. No one is ever going to describe his vocals as ''soaring'' or laud him for the wonderful harmony section that lifts a song to the next level. No, Leonard Cohen for all of his world weary growling, is a poet of the last call at two in the morning. He's someone who knows what its like in that smokey bar at 2:00 AM. He knows and he sings of what he knows. In Ten New Songs he sings about ''the Christ who has not risen from the caverns of the heart'' and about falling from grace in the middle of falling in love. There's pain in the messages here so only real people with life lesson problems need apply to listen. In the end, when you're good and done, then you'll understand your own pain a little more and you'll probably have a little less. Yes, Leonard Cohen is an aquired taste but then again so is any thing that's good for you........I gotta go listen again. Bye.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We'd only heard of Cohen this past year and were thoroughly delighted with his style! A Canadian ice skater (Gary Beacom) used his 'I'm Your Man'' and it was totally appropriate for the program. Ten New Songs is an intense disk! We didn't think Cohen could be any better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very poetic lyrics and presented in a soft and soothing tone. If you need inspiration, some words to set you into a thought provoking process, or you simply want to be entertained, then this is the music you need to listen to. Really listen. No matter where you are, no matter what you're doing this incredible music/lyrics will put you in the middle of yourself, your thoughts, your moods...certainly triggers you to get to know yourself on another level! If you need some relief from stress and tangled emotions, then listen. Deep voice, simple and poetic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd never heard of Leonard Cohen a month ago. I was surfing the TV stations one evening and heard this raspy, sexy voice, so stopped to watch what was happening. I was an immediate fan and bought his newest CD. I am not disappointed at all - in fact, I am delighted
Guest More than 1 year ago
Compared to Cohen's last outing, ''The Future'', this new album ''Ten New Songs'' is a stripped-down sound, with simple orchestration and soft sounds. The lyrics he sings are as still as deep and thought-provoking as ever. Dark and light in perfect balance, Cohen takes us by the hand and leads down the backroads of his life, and into the crossroads of ours. It is very apt that this album is released in October, the beginning of Fall, Winter is just around the corner, and this will be the soundtrack for my Fall/Winter 2001.