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Classic Album Review: Leonard Cohen | Ten New Songs

Antiseptic synthesizers and soulless drum machines do not a Cohen album make.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Ten new songs? For sure. But 10 new ideas? No so fast.

It’s been about a decade since Leonard Cohen’s last studio album — but last time I checked, his iconic status hadn’t dimmed a bit. So you’d think when Lenny decides to come down from the mountain and do a little new crooning, he wouldn’t have much trouble assembling the band of the century, right? Wrong. Instead, for reasons known only to himself, Cohen teams up here with Sharon Robinson, his longtime backup singer and a sometime songwriter (she co-wrote Waiting for the Miracle), who fashions the music for all of these tracks using antiseptic synthesizers and soulless drum machines, which provide a disappointingly insufficient backdrop for Cohen’s poetic ruminations on lust, obsession and redemption. Sure, it has its moments — most notably the opening cuts In My Secret Life and A Thousand Kisses Deep. But ultimatly, if you’ve ever wanted to hear what Cohen would sound like on karaoke night, now’s your chance.