This album is pure gold. Some people might think it is for people who don't like Leonard Cohen's voice but who nonetheless recognise his skill as a song-writer. Personally, I think he is great and I think this album is great so it need not be one or the other - Leonard Cohen fans can like this album too, as it is full of sensitive but different interpretations of his songs. My favourite track is probably Avalanche IV sung by Jean-Louis Murat in French, which is quite brilliant. I agree with other reviewers that the Nick Cave version of Tower of Song does not add much, though Nick Cave fans might still enjoy it and there is another better version of the song on the album too. The House of Love version of Who By Fire is not as bad as other reviewers suggest - not the most memorable track, perhaps, but not a bad way to start the album. I have two other albums of people singing Cohen's songs but neither is a patch on this one. At 18 tracks, this is a long album with little duff material. Unlike other compilations, I find I come back to it time and time again and it has helped me to discover some interesting artists.
This 1991 tribute album reveals the broad range of Cohen's talent as composer in its dazzling variety of voices and styles. Following the prayer Who By Fire by House of Love, Ian McCulloch soars through Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye, adding his own melancholy twist to the song's sublime sadness; The Pixies storm through I Can't Forget at their characteristic fast pace, whilst That Petrol Emotion poignantly render Stories Of The Street and James perform a meandering but moving So Long Marianne. Stephen Duffy of The Lilac Time gently caresses Bird On A Wire, followed by the Ugandan singer Geoffrey Oryema whose Suzanne, embellished by flute and a trio of guitars, fades out on a click-filled chorus.
Quite brutal is David McComb's exploration of the sleazy Don't Go Home With Your Hard-on which shakes, rattles and rolls along with the best of the psychotic beats, while Dead Famous People, produced by Serge Gainsbourg, make a surprising success of a bubblegum singalong rendition of True Love Leaves No Traces. The star of the show is John Cale as he paints a truly great soundscape with only voice and piano in Hallelujah, a classic which would have remained buried in Cohen's own rather monotone version. Others are not so great: REM's sloppy First We Take Manhattan and Nick Cave's pointless Tower Of Song, which is better interpreted by Robert Forster.
I love Leonard Cohen. I know lots of people do not enjoy his voice and this is an ideal album for them. You have some of his loveliest songs sung by other voices. Not always good voices or ideal interpretations but, nevertheless, you get a choice of tuneless voices. Except for one outstanding track. The final one. Hallelujah sung by John Cale. Simply sublime and the only one, well I think so anyway, that is better than the original.
Well the John Cale "Hallelujah" is worth the price of admission alone - simply sublime, and I only wish my brain could be cleansed of the umpteen inferior overwrought X-factor style knockoffs that have come since. As for the rest, it's truly a great album in that you can go back to it and discover a new favourite - currently Lloyd Cole's "Chelsea Hotel" just edges it for me from the Pixies "I Can't Forget", but I'm fickle and next time I listen there'll be another fave.
I bought this for a real Leonard Cohen fan and had a listen before wrapping it. I hadn't heard of most of the bands covering the numbers apart from Nick Cave and wasn't overly impressed with how they interpreted the songs. If you are going to cover a song you need to improve on it and I am not sure you can improve on a Leonard Cohen song - unless you are Leonard Cohen. Note to X Factor judges and producers - please don't let 19 year old X Factor winners cover Leonard Cohen songs - it really doesn't work. (the same with Bob Dylan ...) Thank you.
I bought this CD when released, moved to write something by news of Leonard Cohen's death today 11th Nov 2016. I have listened to the CD hundreds of times and I suppose the easiest way of reviewing it is to reflect on the tracks I think really get it and the others that I skip. Those that get it in my opinion are House of Love, Nick Cave, John Cale, Lloyd Cole, Ian McCulloch, James, Pixies, Dead Famous People, R.E.M. and Fatima Mansions I'd say that this CD is worth having on any of those above.
There's some good stuff on this but - overall - what it tells you is that no one does Cohen's sings better than the man himself. Unlike some of the covers of Dylan's works - where other people have taken his songs and given us better versions - you couldn't say that of many songs on this collection. Interesting though; I'd say it's strictly one for paid-up afficianados.
This fascinating tribute album unlocks the impressive storehouse of Cohen's composing talent in a dazzling variety of voices and styles. First the gripes: Nick Cave's pointless Tower Of Song is a waste and the House Of Love's tepid Who By Fire provides no new perspectives. Also, REM's messy First We Take Manhattan is a stupid waste. But gems abound: Ian McCulloch soars through Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye, adding his own melancholy twist to the song's sublime sadness; The Pixies storm through I Can't Forget at 200 km/h while That Petrol Emotion poignantly render Stories Of The Street. Pity they changed the lyrics though, as did James on their meandering but moving version of So Long Marianne. Stephen Duffy's voice with its The emotional timbre gently caress Bird On A Wire, followed by Geoffrey Oryema's ethereal Suzanne that fades out on a click-filled chorus. Quite brutal is David McComb's exploration of the sleazy Don't Go Home With Your Hard-on which shakes, rattles and rolls along with the best of the psychotic beats, while Dead Famous People make a surprising success of a singalong, bubblegum rendition of True Love Leaves No Traces. But the star of the show is John Cale as he paints a truly great soundscape with only voice and piano in Hallelujah, a classic which would have remained buried in Cohen's own rather flat version. It is rare treat to hear one musical master celebrating another like this. Cohen as composer will deservedly gain many new fans through I'm Your Fan.