“[Songs Of Leonard Cohen] was, and is, a masterpiece of emotional association, and Cohen is always there just on the periphery, waiting to step in and show us the way out. But for his part, he’s content to let us wander on our own for a time.”


Leonard Cohen as our own personal Virgil

Cohen was channeling some deeper spirits of the human consciousness—these narratives weren’t simply songs; they were doorways into specific emotional catharses, with Cohen acting as our own personal Virgil as we are led through a series of revelatory experiences. Superficially, this album was fairly basic. The music wasn’t especially complicated, nor was Cohen’s technical skill far and away better than some of his peers (although the brilliance of his rhythmic simplicity cannot be understated). What set this album apart from so many others was the scope of its emotional connection with its audience.

The first half of the piece is a well-written but fairly standard brief biographical sketch of Leonard Cohen; the final three paragraphs, however, are an especially insightful take on the listener’s experience of Cohen’s first album.

The entire article is available at Record Bin: The austere beauty of Leonard Cohen’s debut, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” By Joshua Pickard (Nooga: October 4, 2014)

Note: Originally posted October 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: “What makes Leonard Cohen a very different poet is that he turns his poetry into songs” 1969 Songs From A Room Print Ad

songsfromroomadfrae-scaled500There could be millions of Leonard Cohens in the world. You may even be him yourself.

1969 full page CBS Records ad, published in Melody Maker, for Leonard Cohen’s Songs From A Room album (inset also displays Songs Of Leonard Cohen album). The copy follows:1

Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to disengage yourself from life? To withdraw into some kind of solitary contemplation just to think about everything for a while? Everything. You. Her. It. Them.

Well, that’s how a poet feels, … And what makes Leonard Cohen a very different poet is that he turns his poetry into songs…

Then came Songs From A Room, the second Leonard Cohen album for the growing number of people who have identified with him. And what he feels. But don’t have that rare poetic vision. There could be millions of Leonard Cohens in the world.

You may even be him yourself.

On CBS Records

Heavy, dude

Note: Originally posted July 27, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Note” Similar but not identical text is found on a different Songs From A Room print ad []

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: “James Joyce Is Not Dead …” Print Ad For Songs Of Leonard Cohen


While this ad promotes Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen (released December 1967), the quotation in headline, “James Joyce is not dead. He is living in Montreal under the name of Cohen,” is from a Boston Globe review of Leonard Cohen’s novel, Beautiful Losers (published 1966).

Also see 1968 French Vinyl 7″ Suzanne Invokes “James Joyce is not dead; he is living in Montreal under the name of Leonard Cohen”

Note: Originally posted Feb 22, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Andrew Pulver explains “What’s so great about [Leonard Cohen’s] stuff?”

So what’s so great about his stuff? I’m not a proper music writer, but for me, it’s a number of factors. First and foremost, Cohen is such an empathetic figure: wise-seeming, morally insightful, emotionally generous and a magnetic performer. (I managed to weasel tickets to two of his 2008 London concerts and was properly awestruck at the way the man conducted himself on stage.) He appeared to distill all the qualities I would have hoped to find in other heroes of mine.



Excerpt from My favourite album: Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen by Andrew Pulver (Guardian: Oct 6, 2011). This is a well written, personal, and perceptive essay about Pulver’s discovery, as a young adult in the 1990s, and consequent appreciation of Leonard Cohen’s first album as a consequence of Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs Miller.  (Andrew Pulver is the Guardian’s Film Editor.) The complete article is available at the link.

“Whereas Mr Dylan is alienated from society and mad about it, Mr Cohen is alienated and merely sad about it.” NY Times 1968

From Alienated Young Man Creates Some Sad Music by Donal Henahan. New York Times: Jan 29, 1968. A review of Songs Of Leonard Cohen.

Note: Originally posted Mar 6, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Telegraph Designates Songs Of Leonard Cohen “Mordant Lullabies For Grown-Ups”

Songs_of_Leonard_CohenxAccording to Six Best Albums For Insomniacs By Thomas H Green (The Telegraph: July 15, 2015), “music that lulls and soothes absolutely is the perfect accompaniment to a doze.” And, the first entry in their list of “laid back albums” is

Songs of Leonard Cohen

Cohen’s career is littered with mellow songs, but his 1968 debut stands as a masterpiece, as poetic as his voice is somniferous. His lyrical tales hold the mind in thrall but every time his tone even threatens to become strident, he draws back like a warm tide washing the senses. It may have the fame factor, with renowned songs and sweeping strings, but these are mordant lullabies for grown-ups.