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The Essential Leonard Cohen 3.0

Leonard Cohen

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Album Review

The tracks on this two-CD, 31-song anthology, spanning Leonard Cohen's career from his 1967 debut album through 2002's Ten New Songs, were chosen by Cohen himself. It could thus be regarded as an accurate mirror of how Cohen sees his own career path and catalog highlights. And there are many of the songs you would expect from any decent Cohen retrospective: "Suzanne," "Sisters of Mercy," "So Long Marianne," "Bird on a Wire," "Famous Blue Raincoat," and "I'm You're Man," for instance. Still, the balance and selection isn't ideal. There's just one song ("Famous Blue Raincoat") from Songs of Love and Hate, and no songs at all from Death of a Ladies Man. Cohen's 1988-2002 period is arguably overrepresented, with about half of the package's tunes dating from that era. And because his later period is so prominently featured, most listeners won't be able to get around the fact that his voice declined in expressive range in the later years, and his material was less striking than his best early songs. Still, for those who've enjoyed Cohen all along, it's a good dose of much of his better work, and certainly doesn't skimp on the running time, with each of the discs lasting 78 minutes. [This special 2008 edition adds a bonus disc which includes "Death of a Ladies Man," "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" and five other songs.]

Biography

Born: 21 September 1934 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most fascinating and enigmatic — if not the most successful — singer/songwriters of the late '60s, Leonard Cohen has retained an audience across four decades of music-making interrupted by various digressions into personal and creative exploration, all of which have only added to the mystique surrounding him. Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon), he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s...
Full bio
The Essential Leonard Cohen 3.0, Leonard Cohen
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