Monday, 19 December 2011

Leonard Cohen - Various Positions - Album Review [19th December 2011]

Positions In Paris.

Five years on and Cohen gives us a really sensual album. Ben speculated on the chronological location and rise of Cohen's sex-appeal through his history and witnesses. What introspection kept the ladies questioning previously is banished. Here is a brutally romantic album, assertive in its direction to worship the love's power, and concisely over a quick thirty-five minute record. In the aim of haste, it would be a litmus test for relationships. If the understanding of the sexiness on this record is unapparent to some, then surely the invitation, from those who do understand it, to share condiments any more intimately than across a table would bring hurt and waste in the days. Move on young lovers, find others to create something stronger!

Various Positions brings us night-time; a set of songs, mostly ballads or lullabies, with all instruments played softly, steadily and understated. His vocals and instrumentation ( with newly-included notable synthesized keyboard sounds and quantised perfomances lead by drumming treated as such ) stooped in reverb and mixed in mellow bass tones. It is as if Cohen is singing in an empty Church or out in the streets, with roses in one hand, talking with the wet pavements about the emotional memories of the recently exited crowds from a busy evening in the city. The mathematical restriction of the timbre allows poetry from the shape of the songs, the words and the music; like precision in perfect block bricks allows poetry to be realised, without distraction, from the form of the structure.

The romance of this record comes from its utter reverence of love and sex and their unyielding magnetism. The attraction to these powers is described, running as a fugitive to any attempted qualification in The Law. He celebrates the flirtation of its necessary chemistry - "If the moon has a sister, it's got to be you." That song charts its brutal incumbency to the body and soul, braking thrones and cutting hair. It's innate existence in all, from the holy to the broken. As the song is ordered to silence, with religious rests in the final repeats of the chorus, an orgasmic Jennifer Warnes cannot restrain an exclamation of her white horses breaking.

Alternatively, the songs Heart With No Companion and If It Be Your Will offer two sides of our strength in amongst the tornado: the strength to hope for sensual mercy and the humility to respect its dictatorial outcome, respectively. Heart With No Companion stoically marching for all losing faith of their engagement with these powers and If It Be Your Will offered as a harvest from the generosity of these forces, the light they bring.

Five years on from Recent Songs and Miss Warnes came along, in body and song. Jenny loves Lenny loves Jenny loves Lenny loves Jenny loves Lenny loves Jenny. His present lover Anjani is amongst the Cohen sound for the first time, but this union is not retrievable in the radar of this collection, perhaps not even a candle lit yet in the lives of these people at these different times. Lenny loves Jenny loves Lenny loves Jenny. Wrapped up in this album, like Suze Rotolo and Bob Dylan on the front of his Freewheelin' album. Warnes was invited on the last record, but here is no visitor. She brings a character, with magical inflections, as evidence of Cohen's heavenly theories. "There is no decent place to stand in a massacre / But if a woman take your hand, then go and stand with her. " Her hand here certainly keeping him from any abyss.

I have enjoyed this record much more through this examination, and out of those previously reviewed, I believe this has taken the greatest shift in my appreciation so far. I have clearly connected with the morality of the songwriting before, but perhaps in doing this neglected some purer enjoyment of the songs. With Dance Me To The End Of Love opening most of his live sets these days, I treat it as a welcoming manifesto to rewarding philosophy.

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