Classic Albums: Songs Of Love And Hate by Leonard Cohen

“Well I stepped into an avalanche, it covered up my soul”

is the opening line on the album and it’s got to be one of the most devastating image ever. After yesterday’s post New Music You Want It Dark album, I’ll continue with my Classic Albums set today and the next decade up is the 70’s. It’s Cohen again with his Songs Of Love And Hate, it’s like the new and the old or the older and then the younger and/or something.

I have unending love for Leo, rating all his albums at the beginning of this month in my Top Tens made me figure out he’s only got one album I really don’t like, it’s 2004’s Dear Heather and overall the rest are pretty good to totally great so this one is in the latter. It’s now my fourteenth album that I’m now called a classic here. I don’t think they’re any who would disagree but then again the Cohen’s pages are not that popular here on my blog, so far. My old man would say “that’s music to slash your wrists too” every time his name came up for years and years like a parrot or something, I had to say something like to end that and prove people have different tastes so I was like “Shut the fuck up Dad, I don’t say the same thing about The Eagles and all your music you listen to because if I listen to all that stuff all the time I would kill myself!” Oh god, is just something I can’t even begin to think about it. Where Lenny maybe be depressing but I can relate to it so I don’t find it dark or anything like that at all.

Songs Of Love And Hate is Cohen’s third album and his first for the 70’s, released in March 1971. The eight track album comes in at just under 45 mins. of listening time but not one moment is wasted here. I did say something close to that to the new album after listening to for a few days but could have been jumping the gun but maybe not too. After years and years of listen to Love And Hate album, it’s true! Each song is perfect here! Number 295 on Rolling Stone 500 albums of all-time and Pitchfork Media rated it at number 74 but this is just one of the most epic works of art put to tape and would be so much more higher in my list. Maybe just like Tom Waits on Frank the other day is Nick Cave in last year’s The Sick Bag Song book, Cave wrote about this album like…

friend’s big sister will invite him invite into her bedroom, an annexed weatherboard shed attached to the main house. Pieces of faded material have been stapled over the windows, so that the room is darker and cooler.

Check this out, she will say

She will hand the boy a record cover, the boy will see the mad face of a laughing man, and big block letters that say Songs Of Love And Hate and he’ll know even before she puts the needle on the record that he has something of untold value in his hands.

Cave finish that page and starts another about this album, it’s not the first time he’s talked about it but maybe it is new the telling of his first listening to the album. Avalanche is even covered by The Bad Seeds on the debut album in 1984 and opening songs and then Cave re-covers it again for the Black Sails TV show only a couple of years ago again. Cave also covers Dress Rehearsal Rag from the album at the live Cohen tribute night too. Just naming few other covers from/on this album have been Judy Collins also on Dress Rehearsal Rag, both Tori Amos and Marissa Nadler on Famous Blue Raincoat, both Allison Crowe and Anna Calvi on Joan Of Arc and I could go on but I’ll leave it at that but he would be one of the most covered artists of all-time.

Recorded in just four day in September on 22nd to 26th, 1970 at Columbia Studio A in Nashville plus off course one live track too. Almost all songs were written much earlier than even his debut album which was about four years before this because everything was falling apart and he was going into a deep and long depression so it was perfect time to recorded these songs then. You can just tell in his vocal deliver even if somehow you don’t listen to the words, do you know what I mean? Just the way he’s singing them, he’s really knows what he’s singing about.

This is the first Canadian singer-songwriter on my list too, I’m going to mix it up over the next few albums. I’ve done a lot of Aussie and American albums and two English but I’m going to go to a few different country’s for next few ones. I don’t if I could do any justice to talk more about each of the eight songs, you know going into the details of them in any depth. It would be a bit pointless and I don’t know if I would breaking some big copyright laws if just included all the lyrics below at the end of the page but that would just go forever and ever. Just have another listen now please or is it your first listen? What’s can I say? In 2009 the released of the full recording of live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970.

So just below is most likely the most well-known song from the album played live, Famous Blue Raincoat to finish off this post. Plus the track listing, off course like always.

Songs Of Love And Hate track listing and times

All songs written by Leonard Cohen

1. Avalanche – 5:07
2. Last Year’s Man – 6:02
3. Dress Rehearsal Rag – 6:12
4. Diamonds In The Mine – 3:52
5. Love Calls You By Your Name – 5:44
6. Famous Blue Raincoat – 5:15
7. Sing Another Song, Boys (Live at the Isle of Wight Festival, August 31, 1970) – 6:17
8. Joan Of Arc – 6:29


My Classic Albums are, so far:

Tales From The Australian Underground – Volume 1 & 2 by Various Artists

Station To Station by David Bowie

Unplugged In New York by Nirvana

Rust In Peace by Megadeth

Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs by Marty Robbins

Henry’s Dream by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Whatever You Love, You Are by Dirty Three

Gala Mill by The Drones

Black Monk Time by The Monks

Ex Tropical by Lost Animal

Work (Work, Work) by HTRK

In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn by Pink Floyd

So, this was the reason I started this blog. The idea is simply to write post about one of my fave album each that I consider a classic album. Please leave your comments below about each album because I would love to hear what you think about each album too, cheers!


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