“Nine Cohen songs no self-respecting iPod should be without” – Tim de Lisle’s Leonard Cohen Playlist (2014)

The Playlist: Leonard Cohen by Tim de Lisle1  (Intelligent Life,2 Summer 2008) offers “nine Cohen songs no self-respecting iPod3 should be without.” I’ve excerpted three selections as a teaser; the entire list is available at the link.

  • Susanne (Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967) Cohen announces himself with an educated folk song. Suzanne serves tea and oranges, and Leonard touches her perfect body with his mind–a phrase which almost makes ogling respectable. Jesus puts in an appearance too, the first of many.
  • Chelsea Hotel No 2 (New Skin for the Old Ceremony, 1974) A stylish kiss-and-tell about a fling with Janis Joplin. “You told me again / You preferred handsome men / But for me you would make an exception.” The gentleman in him regretted it, but the showman went on performing it.
  • Alexandra Leaving (Ten New Songs, 2001)After a long spell as a Buddhist monk, Cohen returned with renewed elegance. This stately ballad, adapted from the poet Cavafy, was one of John Cale’s “Desert Island Discs”.

Note: Originally posted Aug 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Tim De Lisle is the Editor of Intelligent Life but probably best known by Cohen fans for his classic article, Who held a gun to Leonard Cohen’s head? (The Guardian: Sept 16, 2004) []
  2. Intelligent Life is the lifestyle-oriented sibling publication of The Economist []
  3. OK, “self-respecting iPod” has become an oxymoron in 2017; the playlist notion is still valid []