“Songs Of Love And Hate” by Leonard Cohen - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1971Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

“Well I stepped into an avalanche, it covered up my soul” said the grotesque hunchback in a resigned, world-weary monotone. Yay, Leonard’s back! The opening gambit on his third LP is served upon a hypnotising fast-pick classical guitar pattern and a gorgeous string section – immediately the senses are filled. Soon after, the devastating poetic brilliance of “Dress Rehearsal Rag” absolutely leads the listener by the hand on a trip to desolation row, where suicide is just a razorblade stroke away. On this sort of form, he’s in the highest echelons where the greats truly exist: “There's no hot water and the cold is running thin. Well, what do you expect from the kind of places you've been living in? Don't drink from that cup, it's all caked and cracked along the rim. That's not the electric light, my friend, that is your vision growing dim. Cover up your face with soap, there, now you're Santa Claus. And you've got a gift for anyone who will give you his applause. I thought you were a racing man, ah, but you couldn't take the pace. That's a funeral in the mirror and it's stopping at your face.” I can’t help but chuckle – might “Songs of self-hate and loathing” have been a better title?

The tone lightens musically for “Diamonds In The Mine”, which brings the Nashville sound into disrepute. Here, Leonard sounds every bit as busted and disgusted as he did on “Dress Rehearsal”: “And the trees are burning in your promised land. And there are no letters in the mailbox, and there are no grapes upon the vine, and there are no chocolates in the boxes anymore, and there are no diamonds in the mine.” Emptiness abounds. Is it wrong to find this hilarious? It sure is entertaining – what a performer, what a vocal. Side 2 is not quite as breath-taking, but “Joan of Arc” serves excellently as a closer. Here, we are taken on a trip back to 1431 as our heroine is given a voice whilst facing the fire which is consuming her as she burns at the stake, after having been found guilty of heresy. I must say, she seems to taking it all rather calmly. What a gal. Quite right Joan, don't let those crazed zealots beat you. She deserves to be immortalized. An awesome LP every 2 years – that’s the Leonard Cohen story so far; seasoned to perfection every time.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [05:07] 9.8.png Leonard Cohen - Avalanche (Leonard Cohen) Folk
A2 [06:02] 9.1.png Leonard Cohen - Last Year’s Man (Leonard Cohen) Folk
A3 [06:12] 9.4.png Leonard Cohen - Dress Rehearsal Rag (Leonard Cohen) Folk
A4 [03:52] 10.0.png Leonard Cohen - Diamonds In The Mine (Leonard Cohen) Alternative Country
B1 [05:44] 6.9.png Leonard Cohen - Love Calls You By Your Name (Leonard Cohen) Songwriter
B2 [05:15] 7.3.png Leonard Cohen - Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen) Songwriter
B3 [06:17] 8.5.png Leonard Cohen - Sing Another Song, Boys [live] (Leonard Cohen) Folk
B4 [06:29] 8.6.png Leonard Cohen - Joan Of Arc (Leonard Cohen) Songwriter

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved