Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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A True Gem
When I first heard another Leonard Cohen tribute was to take place, my mind went back to the "I'm Your Fan" tribute in 1991. It feature the Pixies, John Cale (with his now-infamous version of Hallelujah), Nick Cave, etc. I was impressed but not thrilled. And I assumed the same here. But somehow, Hal Willner always surprises me. I liked the movie, despite the fact that the performances were a bit long, and I LOVE the soundtrack. Martha Wainwright's "Tower of Song" is gorgeous; she put her own spin on it while keeping the essence of th song. I am usually not a Teddy Thompson fan, but "Tonight Will Be Fine" just blew me away, and I am in love with the sound of his voice on that song. Rufus Wainwright, one of my favorite musicians of all-time and quite possibly one of the best alive today, is just breathtaking on "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" and "Everybody Knows". I was slightly disappointed, though, that "Chelsea" was the same recording that was included in the UK re-release of the Want albums (which I bought several months ago). I was looking forward to a new recording. But regardless, it was still fabulous. I know that many of you ache for his "Hallelujah", but as a huge Rufus fan, he overplays that song. It was high-time to play something new and fresh (at least to our ears) and it worked out brilliantly. If it is any consolation, his version of the song is in the movie, at least. My favorites on this record come and go, but right now, as of this moment, my favorite-- hands down-- is Antony's "If It Be Your Will". If anyone has heard Leonard's original recording of it, you know what I mean when I say the song was beautifully written... but blandly performed. Antony has truly taken the song into his arms and made it a beautiful, gorgeous masterpiece. Again, I am not usually an Antony fan, either, but I was totally stunned by this song. I read the reviews and thought that it got so much attention majorly because one critic liked it, and everyone else followed suit, but I found myself smitten with it from the first note. Antony shines through this song. It is a true work of art. My least favorites on this album were The Handsome Family, Beth Orton, Perla Batalla, and Julie Christensen. They were not bad performances or bad artists, but paled in comparison to the rest of the songs on this record. The best, in my opinion, were "If It Be Your Will", "Tower of Song", "Chelsea Hotel No. 2", and "Tonight Will Be Fine". Those four blew me away totally and utterly, and the experience of them was even better in the movie. My only question to this soundtrack and movie was... why was there virtually NO mention of Jeff Buckley at all? His version of "Hallelujah" is the most popular one around, and he was a huge Leonard fan. While he may not be with us, and I understand why he isn't on the record, why was there no hint of his existence in the movie? Ever? If Jeff was here today, he would definitely have been in on this project, and I feel it is a travesty that Hal or Leonard or SOMEONE did not even bring his name up. He played a huge role as far as influencing some of the artists on this album, and I am apalled that he was not recognized at all. Leonard did not even mention him, and I would think that he, of all people, would appreciate Jeff's incredible work a great deal. Hal, who got Jeff started with his tribute to Tim Buckley 10-15 years ago didn't even mention him. Considering how huge his version of "Hallelujah" is, there should have been at least a mention of him in the liner notes of this record (which there is not). But other than that, this album is a great buy and well worth it. If the movie is playing near you, it is a fabulous idea to check that out as well.
An excellent soundtrack to an excellent movie. It would have earned five stars, but this soundtrack is sadly missing Rufus' cover of "Hallelujah," which is a travesty. Still, it's worth it for the Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Rufus Wainwright and U2 tracks. I guess I'll just have to wait for the DVD release to get "Hallelujah."
Excellent movie-excellent tribute
It's always hard to sing someone else's songs and be great, especially a poet/genius such as Leonard Cohen. Of course, many people have covered his songs over the years and done a good job, but a whole album presents a different challenge. What I really liked best about this tribute is that most of the artists were not your mainstream types. That was a big positive for me, and many of them are excellent. Antony's cover of "If it be your will" was awesome; I also loved Martha's (who I love) cover of "The Traitor" and brother Rufus' cover of "Chelsea Hotel" was equally impressive. All in all, if you love Leonard, this is a no brainer for ten bucks.
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