|Cohen, Leonard / Dear Heather|
|Add Date:||2005-01-16|| ||Pull Date:||2005-03-20|| |
|Week Ending:||13 Mar||6 Mar||27 Feb||13 Feb||6 Feb||30 Jan||23 Jan|
Sounds almost like the legendary singer/songwriter’s farewell to music (or at least the attending sexual perquisites). I gotta acknowledge that there are things wrong with this album—the same things that are wrong with nearly everything he’s put out since about 1980: cheesy overproduction, intrusive backing vocals, and that goddamned mouth harp. That said, there is some undiminished lyricism here, and some tracks that I think rank up there with the good old stuff (5, 6, 7, 8 & 11). There’s also an amazing diversity that I think is new for Cohen: tracks like 4 & 5 are pretty jazz-like, there’s some of the old religious preoccupation in 8, 11 & 12, track 10 reminds me of nothing more than Sweet Honey in the Rock, and 9 is just plain weird. Play this because (like me) you still have a crush on the old bastard, or because his amazing lyrical skill is undiminished and still occasionally shines through his awful musical choices. No FCC’s. |
Track 1: Vile saxophone, female backup chorus, and canned drums swamp Cohen’s wonderful gravelly delivery and undiminished wordcraft. A farewell to love, or lust.
Track 2: Less vile instrumentation. Awful backup choruses still intrude. Paraphrased lyrics: even though I’m old chicks still dig me. I would be swooning if it weren’t for the awful gospel-style backup singers.
Track 3: Contemplative piano and guitar. The repetitive mellow beat, fake strings, and female voice in the duet remind me of a Sade song.
Track 4: **Circus drums begin a long introduction with non-vile saxophone and humming vocals. Single female lead vocalist is not bad, and Cohen rasps endearingly in the background. Waltz tempo. Song meanders a little.
Track 5: ***Tom Waitsian cool jazz beginning with muttered vocals by Cohen. Lovely choral ending, during which the drums get slightly martial.
Track 6: ***Hearkens back to the style of Songs of Love and Hate, with prominent Cohen vocals, simple piano accompaniment, awful loud mouth harp, and tolerable female backup vocals. Lovely lyrics are unmistakably about the World Trade Center.
Track 7: **Spoken hymnic lyrics: “This is the faith from which we start / Men shall know commonwealth again / From bitter searching of the heart / We rise to play a greater part,” Drums and simple electric guitar in the background. Inoffensive female backup vocals.
Track 8: Prominent beat, Busy but not bad production. Lyrics make obscure reference to the crucifixion, I think. Nice to hear Cohen obsessing about blood and crosses as of old.
Track 9: **Harsh chanted vocals, with interesting childlike female voice in unison with Cohen. Caribbean beat sounds as if it were lifted from a Club Med commercial, which complements the subtly demented lyrics well,
Track 10: Putamayo style a capella female chorus starts things off. Sweet and un-Leonard Cohen-like, except for the mouth harp in the middle.
Track 11: **Ominous beat. Smoothly spoken lyrics, a typical (for Cohen) cynical prayer.
Track 12: *Hymnic melody. Cohen’s voice is nearly submerged under the female choir. Dense but good production.
Track 13: A straight country and western delivery.