“Recent Songs” by Leonard Cohen - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1979Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

After his blindingly brilliant stretch from ’67 to ’74, the charismatic Canadian took a miss-step in ’77 with the, largely boring, MOR effort, “Death of a Ladies Man”. His ’79 bounce-back must have delighted those who preferred the stripped-back, intimate approach which had been so fruitful in previous years. That said, there is a decidedly new approach here, stylistically, as the songwriter returns a set which is lightly flavoured with jazz motifs, mostly on account of a bendy bass which is never too far away from the surface. Normally, this would have me running for the hills but the effect is calming, classy and highly enjoyable, fused as it is with folksy touches of violin and Leonard’s trademark pseudo-flamenco guitar. All of the major first-half classics are of the Americana variety and include the alt-folk ghostly melancholia of “The Guests”, the alt-country gentle beauty of “The Window” and the immense trad-folk power of “The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien Errant)”, empathising with the brave patriot struggling against the oppressive brutes in power. Whilst side two may not be quite so powerful, it boasts “The Traitor” a gorgeous song laced with military metaphors which seems to conclude that love is a battlefield, and the excellent album-closer “Ballad Of The Absent Mare”, another mysterious and beguiling piece of the alt-country variety which could easily be several centuries old. Leonard’s back, rejoice ye.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [06:40] 9.1.png Leonard Cohen - The Guests (Leonard Cohen) Alternative Folk
A2 [05:15] 8.1.png Leonard Cohen - Humbled In Love (Leonard Cohen) Jazz
A3 [05:56] 9.7.png Leonard Cohen - The Window (Leonard Cohen) Alternative Country
A4 [04:04] 6.8.png Leonard Cohen - Came So Far For Beauty (Leonard Cohen, John Lissauer) Songwriter
A5 [04:42] 10.0.png Leonard Cohen - The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien Errant) (Traditional, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie) Folk
B1 [06:16] 8.4.png Leonard Cohen - The Traitor (Leonard Cohen) Folk
B2 [03:13] 6.5.png Leonard Cohen - Our Lady Of Solitude (Leonard Cohen) Jazz
B3 [05:13] 7.2.png Leonard Cohen - The Gypsy’s Wife (Leonard Cohen) Alternative Folk
B4 [05:19] 5.8.png Leonard Cohen - The Smokey Life (Leonard Cohen) Jazz
B5 [06:26] 8.5.png Leonard Cohen - Ballad Of The Absent Mare (Leonard Cohen) Alternative Country

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