of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen is one of the most brilliant songwriters out there, but his
gruff vocals have probably kept him from getting a wide audience. This makes
it fascinating to see what other artists can do with his work.
this is the third Cohen tribute album, following Jennifer Warnes' Famous
Blue Raincoat and the compilation I'm Your Fan.
This one plays it
safer and more commercial than the others, and thus is the worst of them.
Still, it has much worth hearing. Bono and Sting are obvious choices to take
on Cohen's oeuvre, and they sound fine here, but the real standouts are Tori
Amos' gentle take on "Famous Blue Raincoat" and, believe it or not, Billy
Joel's surprisingly sensitive "Light As the Breeze."
Sometimes a song and
artist are just mismatched, though, for example, Don Henley puts too much of
a peaceful easy feeling on "Everybody Knows," a masterpiece of obsessive
jealousy and spite. Still, if this album gets people to seek out the
originals, it's a triumph. (11/95)
Jay S. Jacobs
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May 21, 2010.