What genre?

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Rob
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What genre?

Postby Rob » Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:07 pm

I was just browsing through ebay, looked at a leonard Cohen cd, and under genre saw it described as "easy listening"
I have heard Cohen descibed as many things, but come on, easy listening?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/4Track-Promo-Cd-L ... dZViewItem
Rob
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jerry
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Postby jerry » Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:24 am

What genre?-The Truth
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Leonard Cohen
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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:38 am

I think I saw "easy listening" once attached to Ten New Songs. TNS was the most strangley labelled record: from mechanical labelling to folk (???), rock, pop rock, rock anthology (that's the label for old rockers from 60s:-), folk rock, americana, to more accurate and most often singer-songwriter and pop, and even *very accurate* soul-gospel-singer-songwriter, and the most accurate to avoid all the complexities, "ballads".

I think all of this labels were out to the various LC's records, the most often folk, rock, ballads and singer-songwriter, and from 1988 on, pop. Dear Heather is labelled usually in one of two ways: or as folk-rock, or as pop. But in terms of mood, easy listening isn't to far from last couple of albums, at least to me. TNS was even compared to Sade in dozens of ocasions, so...:-)

But which label for Leonard? He started from folk, he was rock, he became very much pop. I'd say he stayed mostly, thru all the styles, Ballads and Singer-Songwriter.
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:55 pm

"Singer-Songwriter" is the most accurate for me. It's generic, but it's true. Too bad they don't have a Truth category... like Singer-Songwriter of Truth.

You're right, Rob, that even though "Easy Listening" may be true in terms of the music sound of it, that genre label implies a wholly, WHOLLY different type of music.

Categorization of Leonard's music has always presented a problem. The first thing people ask when you mention him is "What kind of music does he do?" In these parts, they typically ask, "What kind of music does he do? Country?" :?

~ Lizzy
jurica
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Postby jurica » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:24 pm

Tom Sakic wrote:But which label for Leonard?
good.
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Nightstalker
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Postby Nightstalker » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:30 pm

I agree with you folks about how to classify Leonard using the categories already established, but I think a more fitting category exists for some writer/performers and he fits into that one admirably. "Bard Nonpareil" or perhaps "Paragons".

Cohen not only writes beautifully but he then matches (or creates simultaneously) music that fits the song perfectly. Even if there is calaboration in this he is surely the controller, the master, the one who places his imprimatur, his royal seal, on the finished product and then delivers the work in inimitable style.

Can you imagine Closing Time without the rough foot stamping beat, like a bunch of half drunk guys line dancing and trying to impress the ladies, while the ladies are hoping that one of the fools with two left feet will actually make a move? Can you fathom the genious that moves us smoothly from a dance floor for young folks in a country bar to the philosophical statement, "it isn't worth a dime"? Or that transports us from there to The Boss, who "doesn't like the lofty heights" and a place "as dead as heaven on a Saturday night"? And then seems to intimate that Closing Time may be the Closing Time for Everything? It takes a master of self-inspiration to accomplish such things.

And how does he do the above and then give us Take This Waltz? Not a musical phrase, idea or word does not fit perfectly and yet this song is so very different!

Ah, and then we move to Halleluyah! I can search the thesaurus and not find enough superlatives for Leonard Cohen's body of work. And I have just barely skimmed the surface of his abilities and the analogies to be taken from his songs in order to make my point. May he find 'that place' many more times.

Oh, did I mention I kind of like to listen to him? Yep, Paragon........
"For the captain had quitted the long drawn strife
And in far Simoree had taken a wife." (R Kipling)
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:41 pm

I agree, Nightstalker... also, great the way you did your segue analysis of "Closing Time." 8)


~ Lizzy
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Stranger
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Postby Stranger » Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:37 pm

Poet-Singer?
" ........... if one can describe as serious the confused comedy of our lives". Graham Greene, "The Comedians".
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Andrew (Darby)
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Postby Andrew (Darby) » Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:58 pm

When it comes to categorizing LC's music, I can't help be reminded of comments he made about his style of music, in an interview towards the end of the documentary Songs From The Life of Leonard Cohen (BBC, 1988). In it he painstakingly expounded the virtues of seriousness, which he suggested was "deeply agreeable to the heart". 8)

So, in deference to Leonard, I would suggest his music be categorized as "serious listening". :|

Cheers :)
Andrew (Darby)
'I cannot give the reasons
I only sing the tunes
The sadness of the seasons
The madness of the moons'
~ Mervyn Peake ~
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Nightstalker
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Postby Nightstalker » Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:18 am

So, in deference to Leonard, I would suggest his music be categorized as "serious listening".

Cheers
Andrew (Darby)


I can second that suggestion!
"For the captain had quitted the long drawn strife
And in far Simoree had taken a wife." (R Kipling)
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:25 pm

Poet-Singer/Serious Listening... better yet, both of them... than anything yet to appear. Too bad the two of them couldn't be joined as I've done in referring to them.

The "easy listening" was, unrelatedly, shown to be inappropriate in the way I think of that category. Yesterday, a woman was taking a quiz on her "tastes" in things. With music, when she saw "easy listening," she said, "No ~ that's 'elevator music' to me." It's that homogenized sense that causes me to reject that category. That's more the feeling I have about it as a whole. Of course, some of the Beatles's music has been covered in that way, and Leonard's in the long run, may end up there, too... but, as a category, it just doesn't fit. It's too dismissive of all of its profound and serious aspects.

~ Lizzy
Simon
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Postby Simon » Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:17 pm

Maybe he should be considered as having created a genre in itself, and this ought to call for the creation of a new adjectival neologism like «'cohen' listening». I think I may have even heard it somewhere in Montreal (in french). Someone describing someone else's song and taging it as 'très cohen' ('very cohen'). 'Cohenesque' would be too long. Plain 'cohen' seems to work just fine. A song could be 'cohen', as a bagel may be said to be 'kosher'... Other singers-songwriters or songs could be taged 'cohen', or 'full cohen', or wannabe 'cohen'.

As an example, for me Paco Ibañez is 'cohen'.
Cohen is the koan
Why else would I still be stuck here
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MonkOverBook
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categories and classifications

Postby MonkOverBook » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:49 am

For Immanuel Kant categories, if I remember right, are "Anschauungsformen", forms or modes of looking at things that make it easier for us to relate them to one another or just to find them. That is to say, they do not tell us everything, or rather not even the important, about the individual.

So let's use these classifications to find the Cohenia we're looking for (and blame them if they're unuseful!), but let's not push them too far and try to push good old Leonard into a drawer... none will hold him.
Das Wort ist bloß ein Anfang,
bis es auf das Ohr trifft, das es auf-fängt,
und auf den Mund, der ihm ant-wortet.
- Franz Rosenzweig
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Wed Mar 15, 2006 4:40 pm

Hi Simon and MonkOverBook ~

I've always felt Leonard is unto himself in his songs and music. He does not fit in size or content into anyone else's drawer. I always cringe when I've played him for someone and I hear, "Oh... he sounds like . . . " ~ and I think, "No, he doesn't sound like anyone but him" [and inevitably feel that they're obviously not really listening, or they'd recognize that fact]. I'm not sure why people always feel compelled to immediately categorize someone, per a comparison to someone else. A way for them to somehow justify their listening to him [or not], a way of making up their mind without having to go through the process of real assessment; yet, in just their doing that, it seems so much of what they could be hearing is automatically eclipsed. Well, that's a whole, different arena. When someone wants me to hear something I've never heard, I want plenty of uninterrupted time to do that... not as a background to conversation, not when we need to get somewhere, not... just pure, uninterrupted time, so I don't need to draw fast and quick conclusions about what I'm hearing.

I do like "Cohenesque" as it's one word and a beautiful, poetic one at that... it flows well and sounds wonderful. It imparts all that's said by using two words. Leonard is like Leonard, and that's all there is to it.

Cohen is the koan.

~ Lizzy
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Tri-me
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Postby Tri-me » Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:54 pm

intellectually/emotionally challenging
Cheers & DLight
Tri-me (tree-mite) Sheldrön
"Doorhinge rhymes with orange" Leonard Cohen

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