Recent Songs

Recent Songs

by Leonard Cohen
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Recent Songs

The first thing Leonard Cohen's music fans noticed about his sixth new studio album, given the typically open-ended title Recent Songs, was that, musically, it marked a return to the gypsy folk sound of his early records after the incongruous arrangements Phil Spector imposed on its predecessor, Death of a Ladies' Man, only two years earlier. There were subtle musical developments, particularly a flavor of the American Southwest, courtesy of the band Passenger, which played on several tracks, but the acoustic guitars and violin recalled classic Cohen. Fans of the artist's poetry noticed something else. His writing had become increasingly bitter and angry during the 1970s in the books The Energy of Slaves and Death of a Lady's Man as well as in his lyrics, but there was a new equanimity in these Recent Songs that began with the welcoming introduction of "The Guests." All was not suddenly well, of course, but "the open-hearted many" outnumbered "the broken-hearted few." Cohen's usual mixture of religious and sexual imagery in the songs was elegant and evocative rather than painful. If he was conscious of the sacrifices he had made in vain in "Came So Far for Beauty," he was nevertheless able to make a sincere plea to a woman in "The Window," mixing it with a prayer to "gentle this soul." The album was full of references to absence and dislocation, but Cohen deliberately countered them with humor. The cover of "The Lost Canadian (Un Canadient Errant)" was enlivened by a mariachi arrangement, and the album ended with "Ballad of the Absent Mare," an allegory about a cowboy's search for a horse that ended with the suggestion that the pursuit was only a romantic game. Though often abstract, Recent Songs suggested Cohen had regained a certain equilibrium after a long dark period.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: Sony
UPC: 0074643626422
catalogNumber: 36264

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Leonard Cohen   Primary Artist,Vocals
Jennifer Warnes   Vocals,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Mitch Watkins   Guitar
John Bilezikjian   Guitar
Ricardo Gonzalez   Guitar
Charles Beck   Bass
Earl Dumler   Oboe
Jim Gilstrap   Vocals
Bill Ginn   Keyboards
Garth Hudson   Keyboards
Abraham Laboriel   Bass
John Lissauer   Keyboards
Steve Meador   Drums
Paul Ostermayer   Saxophone
Jose Perez   Trumpet
Everado Sandoval   Guitar
Pablo Sandoval   Trumpet
Julia Tillman Waters   Vocals
Stephanie Spruill   Vocals
Roger St Kennerly   Vocals
Randy Waldman   Keyboards
Maxine Willard Waters   Vocals
John Miller   Bass

Technical Credits

Leonard Cohen   Arranger,Producer
Henry Lewy   Producer,Engineer
Felipe Perez   Contributor
Glen Christensen   Art Direction
M. A. Gerin-Lajoie   Composer

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Recent Songs 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leonard Cohen literally came back with this album after the horrible "Ladies Man" record. Although still stamped with a melancholy spirit that is the trademark of Leonard Cohen, he has a new level of humor involved with "Un Errant Canadian" with the wondering despair of the "Gypsy Wife." "The Window" comes as close to being the modern Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet song as there is. Excellent all around!
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Recent Songs¿ is a sublime relief for the fastidious fans of Mr.Cohen, after a strange trip to the ¿Death Of A Ladies¿ Man¿ `s land. As the steamed up players of their master wordsmith¿s dizzy game, men & women are stil struggling in the dead-end streets of this album for the search of a crisis-free life thru the forbidden moments of their distorted being. You may think that their silhouettes are similar to the early works of Mr.Cohen, but this time the favorite singer of millions uses a mild to moderate positivism to water his garden of poetic creativity. The fascinating sonority of ¿The Guests¿, ¿The Window¿, ¿The Traitor¿, ¿The Gypsy¿s Wife¿ and ¿Ballad of the Absent Mare¿ are covered with the crumbs of ¿baroque-folk¿ blown away now and then by a drifting spicy touch. The beloved bard of the broken down beauties seems to be able to make peace, at least for a while; with the treacherous-mortal world. If you like Mr.Cohen¿s music & poetry, ¿Recent Songs¿ will not disappoint you.