Songs From A Room
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"I choose the rooms that I live in with care/ The windows are small and the walls almost bare", Leonard Cohen sings in a particularly telling couplet in "Tonight Will Be Fine", one of the highlights in this aptly titled album from 1969. The Canadian poet-performer's sophomore release has the sub rosa feel of an attic hideaway, thanks in part to Bob Johnston's restrained production. Cohen's near- monotone vocals are suitable for conveying his finely honed, meditative musings but-- at this stage in his development--not much else. Johnston's soundscapes aren't as beguiling as the ones John Simon created for Cohen's superior debut Songs of Leonard Cohen, though lovely orchestral shadings flatter such Cohen classics as the oft-covered "Bird on the Wire" and "Story of Isaac". Songs from a Room is only a secondary effort when it's stacked up against its consummate predecessor, but by any other measurement, it's an exceptionally literate and enigmatic recording by a true original. --Steven Stolder
Top Customer Reviews
Strange to think of it now, but Songs From A Room went straight into the British Top 10, and spawned an unlikely hit in the form of The Old Revolution (I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard it from Dale Winton's own lips on Pick of the Pops on sundays). This album was also responsible for giving us what must surely be Leonard's signature masterpiece, the evergreen and unremitting Bird On A Wire. Story Of Isaac, which follows, is possibly the greatest song ever written in response to the Vietnam War, plumbing psychological depths very few would wish to venture into, and its central, apposite biblical analogy lends it a resonance that reaches well beyond simply the one combat zone. Elsewhere, The Partisan, The Butcher, The Old Revolution, and A Bunch Of Lonesome Heroes lyrically reinforce the poet's hesitant call-to-arms to the post-sixties generation. Just as the themes of the first album seemed to revolve around travel and lonliness, this time round its about war and freedom. For any fan of LC's, this album is as essential as breathing, though the perception of both Songs From A Room and its successor, the truly bittersweet pill that is Songs Of Love And Hate, long ago I fear, forever cemented in the public mind this hideous image of the 20th century's finest wordsmith as some doom-saying, suicide merchant. Check it out for yourself......
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very good album, slightly depressive but thought provoking. If you like Damien Rice type music you will probably like this.Published 11 months ago by Michael R.
This is the second Leonard Cohen LP I have purchased as I am trying, trying, trying to get into his music. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sid Griffin