Re: criticisms of "Dear Heather"

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Postby linda_lakeside » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:39 pm

And with that I bid you all a fond Adieu. I am now going to eat last night's supper for breakfast. Read a few pages of my book. Then go out into the daylight. :( Hope I don't turn to dust.

Goodnight/morning.

Linda.
User avatar
tomsakic
Posts: 5245
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:12 pm
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Contact:

Postby tomsakic » Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:19 pm

Seems nice atmosphere you have there. I just finished Carlos Fuentes' "The Orange Tree" (El Naranjo). He's terryfing writer; I heard he's supposed to be "the best writer in the world" but he really is I'd say.

Here, we usually hear In My Secret Life, The Letters, Dance Me To The End Of Love (Live), Everybody Knows and First We Take Manhattan on the radio, at least once in week I catch it, but also other I'm Yor Man songs are getting good coverage, adn some from The Future also (Democracy, The Future). For other albums, I never heard anything outside the specialized shows, except the original Dance Me To Te End Of Love (I was shocked - it is heard often in night programme, 2-3 in the night :wink: ). Also, he's often on one state radio station known for old songs, chansons etc (there's usually Sinatra all over the day:)
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Postby linda_lakeside » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:49 pm

Hi there Tom,

It does seem that the best radio is at night. It's then that the DJ can go out for a smoke/coffee and just leave some Cd to play in its entirety or else put on a few long tracks. It sounds like you get quite a bit of LC on the radio! As for Carlos Fuentes - I've not read him, but I will, I will, will. There's almost too many decisions to make regarding music and books now. Quite happily so. :D
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Postby linda_lakeside » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:55 pm

Oh, I forgot! I like Frank Sinatra! The Frank Sinatra from the 40's and 50's, I guess. I don't listen to him a lot but my Dad has sent me a few of his CDs and I remember them from when I was a kid (my Dad likes him a lot - as well as Opera, etc.). I think it can't hurt to get as much 'classic' music into one's collection as one can. After all, each generation 'steals' from the previous. :wink:
User avatar
tomsakic
Posts: 5245
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:12 pm
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Contact:

Postby tomsakic » Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:46 am

Who doesn't love Frankie Blue-Eyes Sinatra? I thought he's you know, like Elvis, something everybody knows and likes. I personally purchased recent double collection My Way: The Best Of. But I think I didn't listen to it at least for a year or so. It's so which such artists, I didn't put Elvis' CD for 2 years at least. I only listen them during the Xmas season: I have Christmas collections by Elvis, Bibg Crosby, The Rat-Pack - I personally prefer Dean Martin to Sinatra, his voice is more softer and emotional. You can compare them when you listen to A Christmas with the Rat Pack! CD.
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Postby linda_lakeside » Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:12 pm

A Christmas with the Ratpack! :lol: Fat chance! Not at my house :D
But, he does have some great old, old, classics. In the 40's when he was but a boy, he sang Ol' Man River with great style. It's that and a host of classics he recorded with Axel Stordahl I want to remember as Frank Sinatra. My Way and a few others remind me of (well they are ) Elvis in his Vegas days. Not a pretty sight. If Elvis went from farm boy straight to his Vegas persona, would he be the legend he is now? I don't think so. Likewise with Sinatra - there were many phases in his career.

Linda.
orjan
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:12 am

Re: criticisms of "Dear Heather"

Postby orjan » Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:32 am

"this is the least computer-driven album of Leonard's since Recent Songs in 79. "

No way! "Various positions" (1984) is very much a "band-album" and so is ""The future" (1992). Take look at the credits on the covers of these albums.

Örjan
Don G
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 8:14 am

Postby Don G » Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:01 am

I agree I haven't even read the credits and I know that "Dear Heather" has less instrumental than "The Future" and "Various Positions".
MichaelPlater
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:15 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Postby MichaelPlater » Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:46 am

Yeah, you are right about 'Various Positions' being more of a band album then "Dear heather." I perhaps meant that 'heather," in places, sounds more natural and organic then most of Cohen's recent stuff. I first heard "Dear heather" as downloads and only recently got around to buying the actual c.d and I was surprised, in reading the credits, that it is very much a 'computer" album. It sounds to me less "1980s synths" than albums like "I'm Your Man," "The Future," and particularly "Ten New Songs" (which is the only album of cohen's I've never particularly liked).
User avatar
bruna
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 2:47 pm
Contact:

Re: criticisms of "Dear Heather"

Postby bruna » Wed May 11, 2005 3:19 pm

I do agree with one exception. I don´t think that the first song of Dear Heather album is a crap. It is just different. I like the way the mixture of Byron´s text and LC´s music. They are a little rambling, but I like it.
MichaelPlater wrote:Having read through most of the actual reviews of Dear Heather I'm annoyed by the amount of undeserved criticism this album has attracted since it's release. Most of this criticisms seem, at best, glib, and at worst hopelessly misinformed. One of the most persistent criticisms is of the amount of synths/programming on the album - a strange reaction considering this is the least computer-driven album of Leonard's since Recent Songs in 79. Surely the target of such criticism would be Ten New Songs, and not Dear Heather, where such instruments as acoustic guitars, violin and strings, sax, harp, and piano feature fairly prominently. Then there's all this nonsense about it being Cohen's last album, his "goodbye," which seems based purely on the fact that he's now 70. It seems a bit presumptous. I personally think the album is his best since "I'm Your Man" and that songs such as "The Faith" and "The Letters" will go down as L.C classics. I do agree that "No More A-Roving" is a bit crap though.
johnny7moons
Posts: 121
Joined: Mon May 26, 2003 12:59 am

dear heather - dissent

Postby johnny7moons » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:12 pm

when 'dear heather' came out, i had the impression the uk press was very favourable. i remember being on the tube one groggy morning, and suddenly realising to my great delight that a dozen leonards were smiling wryly at me from the covers of my fellow-passengers' metros (the metro being a daily free paper, designed for semi-conscious reading on the way to work, where one would generally expect to find articles on the likes of robbie williams or kylie). i remember 'heather' being album of the week in at least a couple of places. however, i have to say - and i say this as a lifelong cohen devotee, who owns all the albums, had made the pilgrimmage to hydra, and so on - i have to say that the praise was undeserved. 'dear heather' really isn't much cop.

the best thing about it i think is the sound of leonard's voice - he doesn't really seem to do notes any more, let alone tunes, but that impossibly deep, subterranean rumble of his is endlessly benign and reassuring, like your wicked, wise old grandfather. he doesn't seem to have much to do with it, though, except recite poems (mostly old stuff, or other people's') over pointless plinky-plonky synth tracks. a disc of leonard reading his, and or others', work aloud would have been far more satisfying than listening to 'go no more a-roving' or the title track.

'on that day' is particularly disappointing - the blizzard of the world really has crossed the threshold, and it seems the finest lyricist who ever walked the earth really has nothing of any interest to say about it.

of course, there are a few good bits, a couple of good lines: 'my heart the shape of a begging bowl', the first sentence of 'because of'. but overall, very sadly, this sounds to me like the album of a man who has reached the end of his talent - and for this reason, yes, it does sound like a farewell. this elegiac mood is beautifully captured in the only really strong track on this weak album, 'the faith' - this is a beautiful, heartbreaking song, worthy of leonard at his best, and it does sound like a song of leavetaking. but, with bitter irony, the only song on the album that can adequately expresses this sad sense that it has been wonderful, but it's finished, and it's time to bow out gracefully, is a reconstructed outtake from the eighties, with hakopian and bilezikjian and all the old gang playing their hearts out. listen to the way leonard's delicious baritone fades from the mix in the final verse, so it's just anjani left singing his words. leonard has gone.

i read somewhere recently that lorca cohen had said her father was on the point of retiring before the current financial crisis came to light. i can well believe it. 'dear heather', i'm afraid, sounded like the time had come, leonard had given us all he had to give, alexandra had now left, and it was time to pass into silence and retirement with the dignity that has always been a part of leonard's greatness and his charm.

maybe he just got too happy. i'd argue that his powers as a songwriter were already waning on 'ten new songs' - though that was a much better album than 'dear heather' - and that buddhism may have made him a happier man, but it also put out the fires that were burning in his work (i actually think buddhism is inimical to art, but that's another story).

but, apparently, this is not goodbye, there's to be more after all. someone raised the parallel with dylan earlier on this thread - yes, 'nashville skyline' and 'john wesley harding' and the albums dylan produced from his domestic idyll in woodstock were kind of good-ish, but it wasn't till the dream, and the marriage, fell cataclysmically apart that dylan produced another stone-cold masterpiece (i refer, of course, to blood on the tracks).

so, for leonard's sake, i hope he weathers this present crisis with his equanimity intact. but it might suit his muse better if it tore him apart.
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Postby linda_lakeside » Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:43 pm

Hi there,

I enjoyed your post. Even though I can't agree with all of your observations, I do think there may be a lot of truth to what you say. After all, the man was 70 years old when DH came out. Usually, that's about the time artists step out of the spotlight (for whatever reason) if they were lucky enough to be still be there.

Leonard has written some beautiful songs, albums of them. I also have to wonder if he has the focus to make back his nest egg, by writing songs of the quality we all remember. Was it his 'depression' that fed his genius? Does he really have nothing left to say? I think he does. I don't think DH is as bad an album as you do, but to each their own...

We all have our favourite songs/albums. Many love TNS, I am growing to love DH. So, I can't say that his talent has run dry. But, with so little time left, I hope he can go out, when he wants, with the same dignity that he came in with.

Linda.
Sherry
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:24 pm
Location: Geneva CH

Postby Sherry » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:42 pm

Interesting thread, this one. I was delighted with some of the things on Dear Heather, disappointed with others - some of the pieces did seem a little bit sparse - Go No More A’Roving was one of them (I didn’t realize at first, until I had read the jacket, that he had not written the words), but when I read that it was a tribute to Irving Layton, it had a lot more meaning for me and has since begun to grow on me. I don’t have the CD with me, so I can’t remember all the titles, but I really enjoyed the one in which he sings “because of a few songs I wrote about women wherein I spoke of their mystery…” [pardon the misquote if I’ve made some mistake here]; also Morning Glory and the one with the ‘heart shaped like a begging bowl’ (I played that one over and over just to hear that line). I also really like the Villanelle For Our Time (another one written by someone else but wonderfully portrayed by LC). My initial disappointment was tempered by finding some of the pieces sort of “experimental”…but maybe I just don’t get around enough. On the whole, I like everything on it … but I am really really mystified by the actual song Dear Heather - can someone please explain that one to me!

I have recently begun to listen to some of the earlier CDs that I had not listed to for quite awhile. It’s amazing how the passage of a few months can give you a different perspective on something you might have listened to many many times before. I find I am interpreting many songs in ways that I had not interpreted them before. I am particularly enjoying going back to the Field Commander Cohen CD - I notice so much more energy and vitality to that live performance that I perhaps didn’t pick up on when I originally bought it.

I understand johnny7moons sentiments when he thinks that Leonard should call it a day, but I fervently hope he does not. I think he still has a lot to say, if he chooses to say it. The difference between truly great artists (of any medium) and a “performer” is that their art is a part of them and they cannot just ‘stop’. He may decide to stop producing commercially, but I seriously doubt that he could ever stop producing his art - if only for his own purposes - even if he wanted to.

Sherry
User avatar
peter danielsen
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2002 3:45 pm

Postby peter danielsen » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:32 pm

"'on that day' is particularly disappointing - the blizzard of the world really has crossed the threshold, and it seems the finest lyricist who ever walked the earth really has nothing of any interest to say about it. "


Well a lot of modern people would indeed say that LC say nothing of interest in this song. They want straight answers, to our problems. Our time is welcomming a new leader, a new ideolgy to put things straight. Everything indeed seems to be "sliding in all directions" so there is "nothing you can measure any more". And so we once again hear the call for World Socialism, World Faith, World dignity, World Order. One World, One People.--> Do you think it will bring us peace and love this time.

Some people say
It’s what we deserve
For sins against g-d
For crimes in the world

-I've heard this over and over again since 9-11. Well educated people in my country asserting that we, (for example as parttakers of capitalism) deserved the masacre of the twin towers. We sinned against God and now we pay. In my judgement the judges seem to ignore the fact that they by their judgment claim to be godlike and so without any sin-->Let he who has no sin throw the first stone

Some people say
They hate us of old
Our women unveiled
Our slaves and our gold

-Is the western world being hated? Are the women in the western world unveiled. Do we have slaves, and do we have gold? I say yes we are hated, and yes we have slaves(anyone who does not always serve their neighbour use slaves, as anyone at a certain point is a slave). Do we have gold, yes. Anyone who does not want his or her gold can just give it up. Leave your house and your wine and your nice shoes and give it all up. Or accept that you desire gold-->the sinner is forgiving, the well do not need a doctor.

But answer me this
I won’t take you to court
Did you go crazy
Or did you report
On that day
On that day
They wounded New York

-Did you go crazy when it happened. Did you loose yourself, do you hate the killers? Would you kill the Killers. Do they deserve to die? Do you. Do the ones you love deserve it. Do the ones you dont love deserve it. Could there be a world without any destruction. Would you listen to the ones who claim that there could be another utopia. Did you report for duty in an army, or did you report to your friends or a paper. Where were you, where are you, who are you. Do you know anything about the deeper levels of your heart. Do the know the ground of being, are you affraid

-Any answer reflects your mind, your heart, your soul, your ideas of g.o.d your ideas about the world about politics, about sex, love, hate, passion, knowledge. You can't escape your answers, and the wound they reflect. But the wound is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in

Peter
johnny7moons
Posts: 121
Joined: Mon May 26, 2003 12:59 am

Postby johnny7moons » Sat Nov 19, 2005 12:20 am

don't get me wrong - i very much hope that the new album, tour, etc, do resolve leonard's financial problems. if he really does tour, i'll of course be there at every show i can get to, grateful to be in the master's presence and happy that the cost of my ticket is contributing a little to leonard's well-deserved retirement. but i'll also be hoping he plays old stuff.

Return to “Live in London, Dear Heather, The Essential Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests