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Death Of a Ladies Man:Leonard Cohen-True love may leave no traces, but Spector's fingerprints all over this obscures great songs,
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This review is from: Death Of A Ladies' Man (Audio CD)
This is the fifth studio release from Leonard Cohen, and for me the weakest album in his back catalogue. With his previous release (New Skin For The Old Ceremony) he had started to move away from the sparse style of his first three albums into a lusher, more complex sound. Seemingly wishing to take a step further on this road he teamed up with the King of complex and ingenious production, Phil Spector. Due largely to the two men's completely opposing views of how music should be made there was a lot of bitterness in the recording studio (legend has it that Spector physically restrained Cohen from entering the studio to finish the vocals, so some of the tracks are rough guide vocals only, and Spector refused to let Cohen have any hand in editing the tracks). As a result there is a largely unfinished feel to the vocals, less commitment than on any other album from Cohen. And the production, which should support and accentuate the main vocal just swamps it.
At the heart of the album is Cohen's trademark - well crafted, meaningful, literate lyrics with stories to tell. Without Spector's messing this could have been a much better album on the basis of the songwriting. So much as I hate to give anything by Cohen a score this low, I cvan only give two stars, and those are for Cohen's contributions, not Spector's. Unfortunately Spector dominates the album. And as a fan of Spector's other work I have to say I do not like having to badmouth him. But here the two men were just too different for a creative synergy to arise from the tension between them. Not one for Cohen beginners, for completists only.