Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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Joney
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Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby Joney » Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:46 pm

I've been getting to know LC's music and I bought this album last weekend.
Powerful or what. After the first 4 songs I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I felt physically shaken and had to get up and get myself a cup of tea and some cheesecake to calm myself down. I see that the album is from 1971, was LC very depressed at that time? I'm glad he's happier nowadays.

I must say that as my introduction to Mr Cohen was via his later albums I never understood why people said he was sad but after listening to Songs of Love or Hate I can see what they mean.

I've been too scared to listen to it all in sequence again but I shall endeavour. Am I just easilly shocked or is this a really powerful album? The only song I slightly knew previously from that album was Diamonds in the Mine which strikes me as quite punky.


Regards
Joney
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lizzytysh
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby lizzytysh » Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:59 pm

Hi Joney ~

"Diamonds in the Mine" does have a punk sound to it.

Yes... it is a powerful album 8) . I'm glad to see that you're getting acquainted with the whole of Leonard's work.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
John Etherington
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby John Etherington » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:07 pm

Hi Joney,

This is without doubt Leonard's darkest and most powerful work. By the time you get to the live track "Sing Another Song Boys" you feel he's teetering on the edge of the abyss (this was recorded at The Isle of Wight Festival, where I was present). The extraordinary thing is that when this album came out, there were clearly many young people like myself (I was 20) who resonated with it. I was totally captivated...mesmorised. I always listened to it in silence from start to finish, and insisted that anyone with me did the same.
I actually bought it on the day it came out (I was working in a record shop in Soho, London). I remember playing it for a small group of friends in a darkened room (I had fixed a black plastic bag from One Stop Records around the light bulb!). I felt numb when I heard the words "where are you Judy?...where are you Anne? (how could Leonard know the names of my first girl-friends?!). It's extraordinary how this album remains so compelling...I always stay completely focused when I hear this incisive masterpiece.

These songs must have been stirring in Leonard's psyche for some time when he recorded them. He clearly felt that his mission was to take things even farther than the bleak interior landscape of "Songs From a Room". "Songs of Love and Hate" is the closest he ever got to sounding like Jacques Brel. Who knows how he really felt at this time? His main relationship was with Suzanne, the mother of his children...he had made his first connection with zen and Roshi...and was no doubt reaping the early rewards of touring
and a more widespread fame. Anyway, this is arguably Leonard's greatest early work, so take the plunge Joni...listen to it all!

By the way, if you think "Diamonds in the Mind" is some kind of light relief. here's a verse from a later live version!:

I told you this in the days of Vietnam
When the poets danced for Ho Chi Minh and the jerks for Uncle Sam
Well which side are you gonna take?
Which song are you gonna sing?
With the mega stench of baby corpses blowing the wind...

All good things, John E
kokenpere
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby kokenpere » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:13 am

Hi John -

Although I might be in error, I thought it was "jocks for Uncle Sam"

I agree - one of Leonards best.

All good things

kokenpere
John Etherington
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby John Etherington » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:08 pm

Hi Kokenpere,

I've heard Leonard do various ad libs on this verse. Sometimes he sings "and the goons for Uncle Sam".

All the best, John E
KjeXXXer
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby KjeXXXer » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:59 pm

No music should come with a warning (except for SunnO))), who have employed certain subsonic bass frequencies that sometimes causes nausea and in the odd case, projectile vomiting), because if you're buying the music, chances are that you know how to deal with it's particulars, because chances are that you already own an album by the artist.
It's the same with Cohen as with Darkthrone. Although, it's nice to have music catch you off guard sometimes.

I've listened to music with far more depression and negativity than Cohen. An example would be Metallica's Fade To Black.
I feel that Diamonds is a light relief, because it's more of a protest than the rest of the album.
Dress Rehearsal Rag is pretty bleak though, sometimes it's a hard listen.
Now you've got the gist of what my lettuce meant.
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blonde madonna
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby blonde madonna » Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:23 am

John Etherington wrote:The extraordinary thing is that when this album came out, there were clearly many young people like myself (I was 20) who resonated with it. I was totally captivated...mesmorised. I always listened to it in silence from start to finish, and insisted that anyone with me did the same.
I actually bought it on the day it came out (I was working in a record shop in Soho, London). I remember playing it for a small group of friends in a darkened room (I had fixed a black plastic bag from One Stop Records around the light bulb!). I felt numb when I heard the words "where are you Judy?...where are you Anne? (how could Leonard know the names of my first girl-friends?!). It's extraordinary how this album remains so compelling...I always stay completely focused when I hear this incisive masterpiece.
:D Enjoyed reading your post so much John, it brought back memories of my first time. It was similar to how Cave described his in the recent doco, because Leonard has never been big in Australia, I always had to search for and order his albums (until more recently, now that he seems to be finally getting world wide recognition). I felt like I had unearthed a wonderful secret, gained entry into an exotic world.

I envy you Joney getting to experience this album for the first time. The first time I heard 'It's four in the morning, the end of December', it evoked a place, a cold December in New York with music all through the evening, that was so different to where I was at the time and so where I wanted to be. 8) Am yet to live in New York or London (like I dreamed then) but who knows...
the art of longing’s over and it’s never coming back

1980 -- Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
1985 -- State Theatre, Melbourne
2008 -- Hamilton, Toronto, Cardiff
2009 -- Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley
2010 -- Melbourne
2013 -- Melbourne, The Hill Winery, Geelong, Auckland
John Etherington
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby John Etherington » Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:34 am

Hi Blonde Madonna,

Thanks so much for your kind words. Since you quote me, I am of course joking when I mention Leonard's references to Judy and Anne. I believe he is referring to Judy Collins and presumably the same Anne that he refers to in the poem "With Annie Gone..".

All good things, John E
littlebitlonger
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby littlebitlonger » Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:28 pm

The first comment I will make will be about the first song.
To me it sparkles of power.
Challengingly (and) slowly sung. It was played in Swedish radio recently,
and some bits of an interview accompanied it. L didn't wanna say much,
he suggested that another guy in his band would talk, and said :
"I'll just go play some c-chords." It went on the tape.
"Isn't that nice" the musician said, and I had the notion there was great humour in the air.

(That may not connect to what You say.)
KjeXXXer
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby KjeXXXer » Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:30 am

You mean Avalanche?
Now you've got the gist of what my lettuce meant.
littlebitlonger
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby littlebitlonger » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:01 pm

Yes, KjeXXXer.
KjeXXXer
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby KjeXXXer » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:21 pm

Ah :)
Now you've got the gist of what my lettuce meant.
Mad_Musicologist
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby Mad_Musicologist » Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:28 pm

lizzytysh wrote:Hi Joney ~

"Diamonds in the Mine" does have a punk sound to it. (...) ~ Lizzy
When I heard that song the first time, I had the same impression, Lizzy. But the interesting thing about your statement is, that punk was quite some years later than this beautyful song, which gives off the beautyful, fresh breath of rebellion 8) .
I love it, and therefore the remaster of that album will be the next I am going to purchase.
Best
Mad Musicologist
beware of masters
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lizzytysh
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:32 pm

Hi MM ~

There seem to be many morphings of that generally-similar-to-me sound that I refer to as "punk" ~ someone who's followed it by playing, singing, listening to it would use the correct term to coincide with the 'year' timeframes. I have no idea, but as long as you got the idea, that works for me :D . Jason and KjeXXXer would probably be able to provide the proper timeline for all of the variations... including a representative sample of each. Likewise, it seems you could, too 8) .


~ Lizzy :)
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
Mad_Musicologist
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Re: Songs of Love and Hate - should it have a warning?

Postby Mad_Musicologist » Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:26 pm

Well, Lizzy, what I found interesting about your remark is actually, that with Diamonds in the Mine Leonard Cohen sensed a style yet to come. I was not trying to correct you about the musical history (what I could have tried to, if I were not MAD Musicologist, but a so called "serious" one. But having studied in this field does not at all prevent me from having crazy thoughts).
Bye
Mad Musicologist
beware of masters

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