on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 7 Jun

Songs from a Room

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 1 Comment



This entry was posted on Dienstag, 7. Juni 2016 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment

  1. Edward D:

    Ah, Cohen! What a delightfully dark album! But if you know any Leonard Cohen songs, you already knew that, right? Wrong. This is dark even by his standards, a remarkable look at Vietnam and the 1960s generation gap from the enigmatic Canadian.

    Cohen being Cohen, of course, that can’t be seen on the surface, which is what keeps the brilliant album brilliant instead of relentlessly depressing. The production style is extremely austere, apparently in reaction to what Cohen considered the excessive instrumental flourishes of his first album; whether intentional or not, this fits the lyrical atmosphere perfectly and adds to it.

    While there is nothing overtly topical about the then-current issues at hand, youth alienation and war are addressed metaphorically throughout the set. „Story of Isaac,“ „A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes“ and „The Old Revolution“ are best seen through this lens. The album’s token cover, „The Partisan,“ is a more transparent take on the horrors of war, and it fits well between the others.

    Perhaps most macabre is „Seems So Long Ago, Nancy,“ a chilling tale of a long-ago love affair that came to a tragic ending (and, characteristically, he remembers the year and what she was wearing!) This one hasn’t turned up on any greatest-hits album that I know of, as good a reason as any to buy Songs From A Room. Amusingly, the album ends on an almost-cheerful note with „Tonight Will Be Fine“.

    The booklet-style package features lyric sheets, a new appreciation by Anthony DeCurtis, and a sprinkling of pictures and interesting period memorabilia. Also new to this version are previously unreleased early versions of „Bird on a Wire“ and „You Know Who I Am“. I think they feel tacked on after the intensity of the original album, but they’re interesting to hear on their own.

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