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4.8 out of 5 stars40
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 11 August 2007
How do you top an album like I'M YOUR MAN? How on earth do you possibly begin to think in terms of eclipsing your very own modern masterpiece? When you're an artist of the calibre of Cohen (or Dylan, following BLOOD ON THE TRACKS with DESIRE), you simply have to think a little bigger. Yes! it's that easy...
THE FUTURE, really, is Cohen's Unfinished Symphony. It was during the making of it that his son was invoved in a serious motorbike crash, and recording had to be abandonded. It was then decided it should be released in its incomplete glory, with a couple of outtakes thrown in for good measure, and this is no bad thing. Any album containing songs of the calibre of DEMOCRACY, ANTHEM, WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE, CLOSING TIME, and LIGHT AS THE BREEZE, would find a place in any list of the greats. These are real BIG songs, for grown-ups, just as were the tracks on I'M YOUR MAN, such as TAKE THIS WALTZ, FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN and EVERYBODY KNOWS, containing lyrics with a rare and precise attention to detail you want to bow your head and kneel at the feet of Cohen's genius. As for the title track itself, it makes young pretenders like Nick Cave look posturing and almost laughable. I vaguely recall a review posted at the time of release with encapsulated what THE FUTURE was about, saying it was a flawed masterpiece, but "most albums don't aim this high." What's more, I absolutely treasure Cohen's reading of Irving Berlin's ALWAYS: its two short verses could just about sum up Cohen's whole philosophy, and as for the closer, the instrumental TACOMA TRAILER, it is a perfect piece of music and serves to remind that, with Leonard, it is not always just about the words, the man's a fabulous composer too....
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on 1 November 2002
The magic of Leonard Cohens music I stumbled across at a Friends house. As soon as She had put the CD "The Future" on, i knew it was special, it demanded to be listened to in its own right and not as background music. Cohen serves up a mixture of deeply provoking lyrics shrouded in sheer poetry and liberally sprinkled with incredible his musical skills, the result is an outstanding ablum that has to be heard to be believed. I defy anyone to listen to "Closing time" and not be moved by the incredible lyrics, Cohens skill is unsurpassed and unequalled, You got to hear it to feel it. 10 out of 10, Excellent.
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The songs on 1992's The Future fall into two broad categories: The Politico-prophetic (The Future, Democracy, Anthem) & the personal, covering a wide spectrum of emotion from love to disillusionment, that resonate with the first category in certain respects. The concluding instrumental Tacoma Trailer recapitulates and unifies both themes.

The apocalyptic title track contains oblique references to psychological disintegration and overt ones to the unraveling of long-standing alliances and to global wars. The underlying idea is one of bewilderment: "They said repent" but exactly what was meant? The marching beat signals the irony of the title Democracy, a tour de force with a lovely undulating rhythm and gripping lyrics that mention the The Sermon on the Mount. Jennifer Warnes is amongst the backing vocalists; this song has been covered by Judy Collins on her tribute album of the same name.

The solemn Anthem with its graceful rhythmic motion and choral vocals contains the comforting lines: "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in," a concept which is extensively examined in the Zohar and Kabbalistic literature in general. The following words have the ring of prophecy: "I can run no more with that lawless crowd/while the killers in high places/say their prayers out loud". Chilling. The Future and Anthem are covered on the soundtrack tribute Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man.

Co-written with Sharon Robinson, Waiting for the Miracle is an understated, slow song with backing vocals by Anjani Thomas whilst Steve Lindsay produced & arranged the soulful cover of Frederick Knight's Be For Real with its lovely organ touches. From soul to country, the uptempo Closing Time, an irreverent blend of humor and religious imagery has a catchy tune, buoyant beat & impressive vocal arrangements for the voices of Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen.

Jennifer Warnes arranged and performed backing vocals on Light As The Breeze which must rate as one of Cohen's most sublime love songs, superbly integrating spiritual and romantic imagery. Billy Joel does a surprisingly sensitive rendition on the tribute album Tower of Song. The penultimate track Always is in the R&B tradition with soulful, even funky female vocals & snatches of conversation in the background.

The album closes with the atmospheric Tacoma Trailer, an instrumental where bass and synclavier recreate the interaction of Cohen's and the female vocals, creating a forlorn landscape of loss and melancholia to devastating effect. As Cohen's sole album of new material in the 1990s, The Future was a worthy follow-up to 1988's I'm Your Man, continues some of the themes on 1984's Various Positions and remains a masterpiece of poetry in song.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 8 February 2012
I`ve been playing this marvellous album again and have again been reminded of its brilliance, in all departments - musical, lyrical, production-wise, you name it.
It`s an hour long, and the music thoroughly deserves it. All but one of the songs is between about six to eight minutes long, and everybody on this most impeccably performed of Cohen records sounds like they`re having a whale of a time.
The ace up its sleeve is that it includes one of Cohen`s very best songs, the witty,
helter-skelter rush of Closing Time. This delirious song has some of LC`s most unbuttoned lyrics. How about the first few lines:

So we`re drinking and we`re dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she`s the Angel of Compassion
and she`s rubbing half the world against her thigh

But it`s the chorus that gets me every time, both here and on his live versions of the song - it was just made to be sung live! - the words of which vary after each verse:

All the women tear their blouses off
the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it`s partner found and partner lost
and it`s hell to pay when the fiddler stops,
it`s closing time...

I could quote from almost any of the lines of this incredible tour-de force, one of Cohen`s most melodically & lyrically rich songs.
There are nine songs here, one of which is a cover of one Frederick Knight`s Be For Real (`Thanks for the song, Mr Knight` Leonard intones as the song ends). Another is his mildly ominous version of the Irving Berlin standard Always - `I`ll be loving you, always` Cohen sings, and you`re not quite sure if it`s a promise or a threat. The album closes with - wait for it - a Cohen-composed instrumental, Tacoma Trailer. It`s a fitting, winning finale to this album so drenched as it is in swirling musical inventiveness and lyrical overflow.
The opening title track gets matters underway in muscular style with the band, led by incisive organ, setting up a broodingly intense, fairly fast tempo background for Cohen`s nervy vocal - `I have seen the future baby, it is murder`. Gee, thanks Len.
Waiting For The Miracle is seductively slow, though with a jauntiness to the wonderfully eerie backing that perfectly complements the ambivalent lyric.
The song Anthem is beyond praise, slow yet full of hushed momentum, with its now well-known refrain:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything,
That`s how the light gets in

Along with Closing Time, it`s a reason to get this album.
Democracy is ironically martial, uptempo, sinister. But don`t worry:

Democracy is comin`
to the USA

He doesn`t sound too convinced. The song, like every song on this album, is superbly arranged (partly by Cohen himself) with judicious use of his ever-present
female backing singers, who are to the fore on most tracks, and add immeasurably to the compelling force of each song.
Light As The Breeze is perhaps a lesser-known song, not included on most Best Ofs and less often sung live (as far as I know). It`s the gentlest, least tortured song here, with a slow-waltz tempo and quiet backing. A subtle, dreamlike delight.
I`ve no hesitation in saying that The Future, made in 1992 and his ninth studio album, is not only a slight improvement on the much-praised I`m Your Man, but one of Leonard Cohen`s most complete, coherent and downright stunning achievements.
The typically wry yet dogged opening lines of Anthem might be a good way to finish.

The birds they sing at the break of day
Start again, I heard them say...
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Tracks on this 1992 album range from the soulful cover of Frederick Knight's Be For Real, to the flowing, country-tinged Closing Time and the sombre Anthem with its comforting lines: "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in."

Democracy is another tour de force with a lovely undulating rhythm and gripping lyrics whilst Light As The Breeze must rate as one of his most moving love songs. As Cohen's sole album of new material in the 1990's, this was a worthy follow-up to 1988's I'm Your Man and remains a masterpiece of poetry in song.

Democracy has been covered by Judy Collins on her album of the same name whilst on the tribute album Tower of Song, there is a sensitive rendition of Light As The Breeze by Billy Joel. The Future and Anthem are covered on the soundtrack tribute Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man.
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on 15 June 2006
i'm only 14 and i stumbled on leonard cohen about a year ago and i was totally drawn in by it i surprised myself because the typical sort of teenager would be totally ignorant to this sort of music but it's amazing and hypnotic espesially 'Everybody Knows' and the 'The Future'(which are my favourite on the album)

Anyway what most atracts me about this music is his gravely manly voice and lyrics which are never but in the backround and overshadowed by guitar riffs.Cohen uses a lot of synthesizers and usually has female backsingers which both sound great, and complement his distictive voice.

This Album and and in fact all of Leonard Cohens music deserves a listening to because it so unique, and i'm sure you'll be hooked on it after one song.
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For his 9th studio album, Leonard Cohen made one of his most musically diverse and accessible records for this 1992 release.

At the heart of the record lies Cohen's trademark rough vocals, and his poetic songwriting. Each word is carefully crafted for maximum effect, and it is rich with imagery, passion and emotion. Cohen uses his unique song crafting to deliver personal tales of love and loss, pain and life, mixed with a degree of social awareness and a wish to right the wrongs of the world.

Using a range of tempos and styles, mixing his original stripped back style with the electronic synth pop found on his eighties album, this is a musically diverse album which nonetheless hangs together as a whole. And it is this diversity that makes it so accessible to the casual listener. And while accessible it is in no way lightweight, and just as deep and meaningful as any of his other works.

It's a great album and gets five stars from me.
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on 20 September 2012
More gems from Leonard Cohen. This album has a strong warning for the future, with a note of despair for the Orwellian future, which we seem faced with. The album is a little angrier and more brooding, but never with the bitter, nihilistic cant, that some other artists have spoiled their work with.
Cohen, unlike some of the others, always expresses love for humankind, rather than bitterness and honestly expresses the world a she sees it, rather than trying too hard to be anti-establishment just for the sake of it. There is maturity in his work, lacking in some others, who attempt similar themes.
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on 29 December 2009
Listen, on your own, and without prejudice to the little old man's masterpiece of a few years back. His recent staggeringly successful reprise tour has reawakened interest in Cohen as a brilliant poet, songsmith and singer. This brilliant collection is a revelation - moving, tuneful, prescient and memorable. His skill in bringing to the fore top quality 'backing' singers and musicians really shows here. Buy it!
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on 11 July 2009
My favourite music of all time, this particular album is what I cry to when I am sad, but its not a sad album, just my mood choice. The lyrics are so poignant and audible. A celebration really of life and love and everything that one feels.
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