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Songs From A Room

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Jan. 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Extra Value
  • ASIN: B000027799
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,551 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

"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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Charlie-CJ HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 Nov. 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of my favourite LC albums, and the sound on the CD is very good (far better than the record I have). 'Bird on a wire' and 'Tonight will be fine' are startlingly good and probably the highlight on a very consistent album - compilations never recapture the flow of the original albums. The songs might seem dated to those who weren't around at the release, but it is Leonard Cohen in top form (his voice and content is more the 'younger man'). I do find 'The story of Isaac' and Abraham a bit too sad to listen to often ('God said to Abe go kill me a son' is far more jolly on Bob Dylan's superb 'Highway 61 revisited'). 'Songs from a room' contrasts well with LC's later 80s & 90's output such as the excellent 'Various Positions', 'I'm your man' and 'The Future'. Plus Amazon are often virtually giving away many Leonard Cohen CDs for around £3 to £4 each.
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Cohen followed up his debut album with another masterpiece, this collection of magnificent songs of solitude, despair and resignation. Besides The Partisan, a song about the French resistance with its beautiful French verses and female vocals, all compositions are by Cohen. The most popular number here is Bird On A Wire that has been covered by artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, Judy Collins, Rita Coolidge, Tim Hardin, The Neville Brothers and Jennifer Warnes. For some reason, the opening lines of Bunch Of Lonesome Heroes make me think of Frodo's journey to Mordor (in Lord Of The Rings): "A bunch of lonesome and very quarrelsome heroes/Were smoking out upon the open road." Other highlights include The Story Of Isaac and The Old Revolution, in both of which Cohen's characteristic Biblical imagery surfaces, and the somber Lady Midnight with its many levels of meaning. Seems So Long Ago is a wistful confessional dirge whilst You Know Who I Am is a delicate love poem with esoteric undertones: "I am the one who loves changing from nothing to one". The mood lightens up on the closing track Tonight Will Be Fine with its catchy melody, driving rhythm and erotic lyric to end the album on a more optimistic note, although even here the sadness is just a sigh away. Cohen's sublime music has a transcendent, spiritual quality. These haunting songs "from a room" have lost none of their poetic impact after 3 decades; their grace, elegance and beauty shine on.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This would seem a good time to upset the purists!? Back in the '60,s, after a party you would crash on the floor (or ceiling !), and the only albums you would play were this, or Love's 'Forever Changes'. I bought the original on vinyl, and was thinking of converting it to MP3, but thought 'how about getting a 'best of' cd instead'. Dohhh!!!! . Two collection albums, that did NOT include 'Old Revolution', 'You know who I am', 'Lonesome Heroes', or 'Partisan'. ????? What the f.........! Are they having a laugh or what! This album outsold all of his offerings since, and personally I wouldn't want a compilation of his later stuff. This album is his 'Sgt. Pepper'. It can't be bettered. It is a classic. You should buy it. Worship it. Marry it. Just buy it. End of.
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Format: Audio CD
Personally, I much prefer this one to "Songs of Leonard Cohen". Despite Cohen's famous reputation for being depressing, I always find this album has the opposite effect on me, while his first is real suicide-music. There are 10 songs on this album and at least 8 are genuine classics - there's the spine-tingling "Story of Isaac", the wryly sardonic "The Butcher" and the sheer brilliance of "Tonight Will be Fine". All in all, it's 10 more reasons not to do yourself in just yet....
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Format: Audio CD
Cohen was unhappy with the little frills John Simon added as enhancements to several of the tracks on his eponymous debut, and wanted a sparser, less ornamented production. Bob Johnson was just the man for the job. Not only that, he also filled in on keyboard as part of Cohen's backing band - The Army - on the subsequent tour of Songs From A Room, and produced Live Songs, on which cracking versions of those songs can be heard in all their closely-miked glory.
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......
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