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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 December 2010
I've been having a little bit of a revisit of Cohen's work. I was certainly one of those intense young women who found his music and lyrics compulsively thoughtful, sexy and lyrical on albums such as Bird On a Wire. I then drifted away from non-classical music for a long while, so missed what Leonard Cohen was up to. To be honest, the later albums are a revelation, how much Cohen's experience as a deep-thinking individual, musician and poet continues.

This album, beautifully enhanced by the backing vocals (and indeed production) of Sharon Robinson, has a smoky, smooth jazz, torch song feel.

The voice has dropped and cracked with age, and some of the songs almost sprechsung in delivery, but Cohen's lyrics are always worth focusing on. The musicality is provided by Robinson's mellifluous, floated backing vocals, often slightly on the off-beat, setting up interesting tensions - most notably on the achingly beautiful, textured Alexandra Leaving - which seems to contain many possible meanings within it. I also really loved the connected songs, A Thousand Kisses Deep (I'm back on Boogie St) and the penultimate track, Boogie St - lines, and indeed, musical threads echo between the two. Religious imagery and the juxtaposition of sexual connection and connection to something transcendent and immaterial continues to twine through these songs, Cohen's deep engagement with the mysteriousness of embodiment, a life which is matter and spirit.

Instrumentally, I found this less engaging than a much earlier album Recent Songs where Cohen used many instruments from different traditions, and styles of playing, to produce a tapestry of sounds; this album relying more on Sharon Robinson: 'All tracks arranged programmed and performed by Sharon Robinson' - so the use of synthesiser keyboards misses something wild, dynamic, untamed which was provided by the diversity of musicianship on the previous mentioned album. Her vocals though, are gorgeous
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on 27 November 2010
When I first listened to this album I thought it was a bit dull, but as time went by this music has grown on me. From the beginning I loved Alexandra Leaving which I still consider one of LC's best songs ever, and also The Land of Plenty and In my Secret Life. Cohen's recent world tour and the albums following made me appreciate That Don't Make it Junk and A Thousand Kisses Deep as well.

Having read some of the reviews I find it strange that no one mentions the Buddhist influence on the music in this album. The sparsely used instruments and the haunting melodies sound like Buddhist chanting in most of the songs. Of course these songs were composed while Mr Cohen was living at the Mount Baldy Buddhist Centre for almost five years; he left in 1999.

Like all of Leonard Cohen's songs the lyrics do have immense depth although some of them might sound quite simple by first listening. If you go deeper into the words and read discussions by the experts you realise that every line has meaning upon meaning, many times just on the brink of breaking through in your understanding them fully, and then it slips away again. Maybe this is why the songs of Leonard Cohen will never age and why one can listen to them throughout your life without ever tiring of them. You always get something new in the lyrics. This album is no exception. Although in my opinion it is not his best, I can recommend it to anyone who really loves good music.
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on 8 October 2001
After nearly 20 years without a new album and only rehashed compliations to contend with, at last Leonard Cohen has got back into the studio and recorded new material. Ten New Songs is a colaboration with Sharon Robinson who pursuaded Cohen back to the studio. This album has a classic Cohen feel to it with the "masters" great huskey voice and Robinson supplying the melody.
The album starts with with "My Secret Life" a well written song which starts with Robinson supplying a melody then Cohen kicks in as if he has never been away.
Unusual for Cohen this album seems to follow a similar vein and does not have totally different themes to it. In my opinion it is of the vintage of "Various Positions" as opposed to "Love & Hate".
If you like Leonard Cohen you will like this album, I think that this album will generate a whole new audience for Cohen. After new listeners hear this album they will certainly want to hear his other works.
So it is congradulations to Leonard Cohen and many thanks to Sharaon Robinson for getting him down from the mountain and back into the studio.
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on 4 November 2001
Leonard is back. Just to prove that he has not spent the last ten years contemplating his navel, Cohen has produced a deliciously laid back album. The simplicity of the songs may deceive but give the album a listen and you too will be entranced. Cohen is essentially a poet at heart; however, the music, co-written with his long time associate and band member Sharon Robinson, brings out the best in the lyrics. Romantic, thoughtful and inspiring are all words that come to mind. Welcome back Leonard!
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on 13 November 2005
As well as being lyrically the most sophisticated and complete of Cohen's albums, Ten New Songs is also the most literary: e.g. 'miles to drive and promises to keep' in A Thousand Kisses Deep is a direct reference to 'But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep,' in Robert Frost's exquisite Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; while the achingly beautiful Alexandria Leaving is a masterful reworking of Kavafy's 'The God Abandons Antony'.
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on 17 October 2014
Another evening masterpiece from Leonard to be savoured with a late night glass of wine. The sparse background adds to the vocal, but Sharon Robinson deserves much credit for her input, the balance is just right. My favourite track must be Alexandra Leaving but no doubt you'll have your own
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on 3 November 2001
You either love him or hate him - there's no middle ground. This album has eight really good songs, one not quite so good (That Don't Make It Junk) and one truly beautiful song (Alexandra Leaving). I'd given up believing he would ever release any further albums: now I'm looking forward to the next one.
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on 29 July 2002
after a much awaited pause, I find that this cd epitomises what I love most about cohen's music: solemn, serious, slightly melancholic, with lyrics that touch everyone's soul. At last!
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on 20 December 2007
This one took quite a few listenings before I began to realise the strength of some of the lyrics and the emotional power of just about every track.
Some don't like the strong presence of female vocals - personally I love this especially on 'Alexandra Leaving' and 'Here it is'.
I love this album and think others who know Cohen's work will too - and hopefully, many others who don't know his work will hereby get to know it.
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on 9 October 2001
This will certainly satisfy Cohen fans the world over. Following the uneven The Future Cohen returns from his musical exile with a fascinating album. Those expecting a knockout powerhouse album like I'm Your Man may frown at first, but this album is a guarenteed grower. Needless to say the lyrics are sublime.
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