"And I lean from my window sill in this old hotel I chose, yes, one hand on my suicide, one hand on the rose."
A masterpiece in every sense of the word, and oh, what a back-story: already an established poet and novelist, Cohen, at the age of 34, after having loomed in the margins of Andy Warhol's "Factory" scene off and on for years, decides to record an album of singer-songwriter material, so he plays a few festivals, comes to the attention of John H. Hammond (the guy who "discovered" Dylan) and is signed to Columbia, and if this isn't enough, he proceeds to record one of the greatest folk records of the modern era. However, to call Songs of Leonard Cohen merely a "folk" record really does it no justice because lyrically, the album was nothing less than revolutionary. In a way, Cohen's debut was a clarion call foretelling the death of the flower-power movement, for while these songs can, in a way, be described as protest songs, they are certainly not so in the sense of the early-sixties folk movement or the late-sixties anti-war movement; rather these are dark protest songs of the soul, delving into and narrating the lives of quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) desperation that all of us, in one way or another, lead but rarely speak of. This gives the album a feeling of deep and timeless universality. If anything dates Cohen's debut, it is some of the arrangements, and legend has it that he fought continuously with Producer John Simon, who wanted the album to sound more commercial. Nevertheless, what we have here is a life-changer if you are willing to step into the darkest corners of the heart.
Songs of Leonard Cohen (2007 Remastered Edition)
1. Suzanne (3:49)
2. Master Song (5:58)
3. Winter Lady (2:18)
4. The Stranger Song (5:07)
5. Sisters of Mercy (3:36)
6. So Long, Marianne (5:41)
7. Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye (2:57)
8. Stories of the Street (4:37)
9. Teachers (3:02)
10. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong (4:27)
11. Store Room (5:03)
12. Blessed Is the Memory (3:03)