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AA is for Quitters
Aug 6, 2009

Hold the newsreader's nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers.

Who?



The man goons think they look like when they wear fedoras. This craggy faced young man (who just celebrated his 80th this year) is a man who has done more to shape the face of modern music than perhaps anyone else. He's definitely one of the most covered artists, and every musician that doesn't list Leonard Cohen on their list of influences is one that doesn't realize that they listened to Mr. Cohen.

Having one of the most covered songs on the planet will do that to you. Even if you've lived under a rock, I guarantee you have heard Hallelujah at some point in time. Maybe you've only ever heard the original. More likely, you've heard one of the numerous covers, of which Jeff Buckley's is the most famous, but there are plenty more, some better than others.

In case you have been deaf up until this point and just magically regained your sense of hearing 5 minutes ago, here is Leonard Cohen performing it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLk4vdY28Q

He's got a career that spans five decades, and more covers of his songs than any other living artist. (I think the only more covered musician might be Bach).

But when you have songs as good as

Famous Blue Raincoat:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ux0yeo4Y0I

Suzanne:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otJY2HvW3Bw

Bird on the Wire:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwnAg2tZKFk (fun fact, that's Charlie Daniels (yes, that Charlie Daniels) on violin...on an album produced by David Crosby)

First We Take Manhattan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTTC_fD598A

Dance Me To the End Of Love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGorjBVag0I (just try to watch this video and remain emotionless. Try. I dare you).

He's gotten even more growly over the years, but it hasn't stopped him much, since he just put out a new album Popular Problems earlier this year (released two days before his 80th birthday). He still tours!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIZDvnJOf8s

So yeah, talk about the new album, since there wasn't a thread about it until now, talk about how awesome Cohen is in general, talk about the gadzillion covers of his songs and the good (Tori Amos) the mediocre (billy joel) and the awful (katey segal)

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brucio
Nov 22, 2004


Any thoughts on the new live album recorded in Dublin? I'm curious to know how the backing band sounds.

Hobbit
Dec 5, 2009

The Undisputed Despot
of The Atoll of Misfit Toys


You should just create a list of Hallelujah covers.

I'll start you off with Peter Hollens and Alisha Popat. I especially like this one because they use their voices to create every sound.

Falstaff Infection
Oct 1, 2014


I think most covers of Hallelujah are kinda lame, since a lot of them try to make a fundamentally despairing song seem triumphant. Those people should cover Anthem instead.


All that said, the Jeff Buckley cover is perfect, and there's a reason why it's the one everybody's heard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIw0ewEsNHs

Falstaff Infection fucked around with this message at 06:30 on Dec 1, 2014

Falstaff Infection
Oct 1, 2014


Also, you know what would be really cool? A Tom Waits cover of Diamonds in the Mine.

Molestationary Store
May 21, 2007



I contend that Michael Buble is secretly cool cause he covered I'm Your Man:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep2lzX2EG58
Kudos for doing something other than loving Hallelujah loungey pop jazz whatever dude!

And yeah, Cohen's a loving amazing songwriter. Would go see him if it wasn't so goddamn expensive.

Falstaff Infection
Oct 1, 2014


So what do folks think about the weird pro-life/anti-abortion thread that runs through a lot of Cohen's lyrics? Like you've got "Destroy another fetus now / we don't like children anyhow" from The Future and "trained a hundred women / just to kill an unborn child" from Diamonds in the Mine, and I'm sure there are other examples that aren't occurring to me right now. Is it a function of his devout Judaism? Is it just sort of a character he does in a few of his songs? Am I taking it all too literally/thinking too much about authorial intent?

Falstaff Infection
Oct 1, 2014


Two of my favorite Cohen covers:

Pixies, I Can't Forget
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEWJsYDdW_E

Judy Collins, Democracy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi6MY84Fmt0

Sgt. McKill
Sep 30, 2005
kill kill kill

What do people think of Death of a Ladies' Man? There's the stories about Cohen hating it, and Spector threatening him with a gun and locking himself in the studio to master it, but it's actually one of my favorite Cohen albums; somehow I think the wall of sound works very well.

Falstaff Infection
Oct 1, 2014


Sgt. McKill posted:

What do people think of Death of a Ladies' Man? There's the stories about Cohen hating it, and Spector threatening him with a gun and locking himself in the studio to master it, but it's actually one of my favorite Cohen albums; somehow I think the wall of sound works very well.

I feel like Death of a Ladies' Man is kinda analogous to Bob Dylan's Street Legal: a bit of a mess, hugely divergent from the artist's traditional style, and probably a failure overall. But goddamn, does it have its moments. I love the hell out of the title track, for example.

LosMein
Feb 15, 2006


I like the Willie Nelson cover of Hallelujah. It's a little heavy but I like the slide guitar and accordion and backup singers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58UjoiSP2wM

I also like the recent live performances of If It Be Your Will. The two girls/sisters playing and singing. It's a tiny bit saccharine, but I think they do a great job.

I saw him in Melbourne, Australia 6 years ago and he was incredible. So energetic and he sang like 4 encores. A three hour show for a 74 year old man. Incredible.

Various Positions is associated with playing the first Super Mario Brothers for me. It's a strange and wonderful association.

Ammat The Ankh
Sep 7, 2010

Who'd have thought Hell would be this boring?


Teddy Thompson did a really cool cover of The Future for the tribute concert from Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgR6on79ir0

(unrelated/unimportant: my old user title was the "Leonard Cohen afterworld" lyrics from "Pennyroyal Tea")

Zombie Chow
Jun 17, 2010

We interrupt this program to increase dramatic tension.


I really enjoy listening to Leonard Cohen from time to time. There's a Spanish songwriter called Joaquín Sabina, who is one of my favorite songwriters, I grew up listening to him and is thematically similar to Cohen... but Leonard Cohen lyrics are strong, interesting and even funny sometimes, so I enjoy him for his uniqueness. I'd consider what he writes to be 'emotionally raw' (also, the man has written some interesting poems and even a play, I think).

I remember discovering Leonard Cohen on the radio to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-0lV5qs1Qw
when I was in college, so it's my favorite by him.

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

I MAY LOOK LIKE SHIT BUT IM ALSO DUMB AS FUCK





Pork Pro

To this day I get tears in my eyes every time I listen to The Old Revolution. Holy gently caress it's the saddest song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNN0804olxw



Falstaff Infection posted:

Also, you know what would be really cool? A Tom Waits cover of Diamonds in the Mine.

The man with the voice of gravel covers the man with the voice of honey. gently caress yes. Though Cohen sounds more and more like Waits every day.


Falstaff Infection posted:

So what do folks think about the weird pro-life/anti-abortion thread that runs through a lot of Cohen's lyrics? Like you've got "Destroy another fetus now / we don't like children anyhow" from The Future and "trained a hundred women / just to kill an unborn child" from Diamonds in the Mine, and I'm sure there are other examples that aren't occurring to me right now. Is it a function of his devout Judaism? Is it just sort of a character he does in a few of his songs? Am I taking it all too literally/thinking too much about authorial intent?

I always thought Cohen was singing about a woman who feels jilted by a man sleeping around on her, a man who's caught between libido and Christian guilt. "Trained 100 women just to kill an unborn child" sounds like he's knocking women up and leaving them to deal with the baggage. Followed by a chorus about a woman feeling various forms of worthlessness after the fact.

Cohen was a pretty established poet before he ever made music, which means he's bound to take on personas other than his own. He's Jewish but also Buddhist, and he explores tons of themes of sexuality and religion, as well as where the two meet. He may actually be pro-life in private, who knows, but I don't feel that his art preaches any which way. In fact it's all incredibly sympathetic to the human condition. Also, as a young man he lived a pretty bohemian lifestyle during the sexual revolution, so there's that.

After The War
Apr 12, 2005

to all of my Architects
let me be traitor


second-hand smegma posted:

To this day I get tears in my eyes every time I listen to The Old Revolution. Holy gently caress it's the saddest song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNN0804olxw

Guess that's my cue... (the text for my last av was "of course I was very young / and I thought that we were winning" so at least I'll be ready if I ever get BRTed).

I'm sure I'm not the only 90s kid who got his first Cohen exposure through that Christian Slater movie. Then the great write up in my teenage Bible, the Spin Alternative Record Guide (his write-up opens with the shout-out in "Pennyroyal Tea"). Then hearing a pretty stoned version of "Suzanne" on the Isle of Wight retrospective album. Then finding my dad's copy of Songs From A Room and the "music, words, and photographs" Songs of Leonard Cohen sheet music book.

But what made me into a Cohen-phile was a incredibly painful, protracted breakup from an emotionally abusive relationship. The salve for this open wound was my discovery of tequila and Songs of Love and Hate. Which I listened to over and over and over and... I had no idea about this "Hallelujah " thing until I'd already been a fan for years. The first version of that I heard was the man responsible for the "cheeky verses" arrangement we all know, John Cale. His version is the only one I listen to, not for his great voice or unearthly gift of melody, but because his Welsh accent covers up some pretty sloppy rhymes. Okay, that other stuff, too.

I've got the complete studio recordings box set, but aside from the first four records which I already had learned by heart, I haven't ventured past Death of a Ladies Man and Beautiful Losers. I'm sure I'll love them when I get to them, but... Good God, those first three albums.

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

I MAY LOOK LIKE SHIT BUT IM ALSO DUMB AS FUCK





Pork Pro

After The War posted:

Good God, those first three albums.

Yeah, I worked at a record store for 4 years and my boss introduced me to the rear cover art of Songs of Leonard Cohen which basically sold me before I even heard the music. Then I heard Songs From a Room which is usually rated kind of low compared to the first one, but each song on that one is so intimate and devastating. Safe to say I absolutely love your av+customtitle combo.

After The War
Apr 12, 2005

to all of my Architects
let me be traitor


second-hand smegma posted:

Yeah, I worked at a record store for 4 years and my boss introduced me to the rear cover art of Songs of Leonard Cohen which basically sold me before I even heard the music. Then I heard Songs From a Room which is usually rated kind of low compared to the first one, but each song on that one is so intimate and devastating. Safe to say I absolutely love your av+customtitle combo.

Gee, thanks. I used to have this pic I took in a cemetery near Baltimore and the text "of course I was very young and I thought that we were winning" because I'm just a miserable bastard like that.

I'm an iconoclast in that I rank the first three albums as "great", "even better", and "holy poo poo!" It's interesting to hear how he handled the accompaniment . Songs of Leonard Cohen was intended to be just vocals and guitar, and Cohen fought with producer John Simon over the added instrumentals, eventually remixing it as best he could. In Songs From A Room, he takes the idea of added instruments and runs with it, leading to one of the most unique-sounding records I've ever heard (boing-boing-boing). Songs of Love and Hate has it all down, both lyrically and musically. Production, arrangement... Man, I could talk about that record all day, but instead I'll just link this. Sure, it's the one everyone knows, but that doesn't make it any less great.

My favorite track off that one, though, is "Sing Another Song Boys", which really got my hopes up for the complete Isle of Wight performance where it was recorded. Sadly, as they didn't go on until early in the morning, you hear an exhausted band struggling through songs from the first two albums, often losing their place and slooooowing down. It's not a bad album, especially for some fantastic between-song banter ("are you calling me a fascist pig again?"), but it wasn't the revelation I wanted it to be.

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Yvershek
Nov 15, 2000

and there are no
diamonds in the
mine


Falstaff Infection posted:

Also, you know what would be really cool? A Tom Waits cover of Diamonds in the Mine.

I find myself agreeing with you for some reason.....

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