As 2001 came to an end, music critics around the world rolled out their lists of the best music in 2001. Ten New Songs was well represented and acknowledged by many critics. Here is what they had to say:
Ann Powers, The New York Times --
The Year in Music
1. Leonard Cohen: Ten New Songs (Columbia/Sony):
"After a half-decade on a Zen mountain, this bard of Montreal finds new insight within ordinary junk. The sound is electronica without beats; the lyrics are unfussily profound. The subject? Nothing heavy. Just life and death." Listen to Ms. Powers talk about the her number one pick for 2001 here.
David Browne, Entertainment Weekly --
10 Best Albums of 2001
3. Ten New Songs: Leonard Cohen (Columbia):
"I'm almost as surprised as you to find the grandfather of Goth-folk on a year-end list: Who thought we'd ever hear from him again after he retreated to a Zen Buddhist temple several years back? But we have, and this set of worldly-wise meditations is a quiet stunner -- like having an intimate bar conversation with a witty, ruefully serene, and very enigmatic stranger as gentle electronic beats and luxurious melodies pulsate in the background. It includes two of the most seductive songs you'll hear this year: "In My Secret Life," about being haunted by romance past, and "The Land of Plenty," about being haunted by the sins of country and religion. The latter, a possible new national anthem if we need it, deserves to be played at ball games and at high school assemblies."
Greg Haymes, Albany Times Union, Entertainment Daily News --
BEST CDs OF 2001
1. Leonard Cohen's Ten New Songs (Sony):
"Has wisdom ever sounded so seductive? Has seduction ever seemed so wise? It had been nine years since his last new album, and Canadian poet Cohen spent more than half of that time in a Zen monastery in California. But he came down from the mountains this year with Ten New Songs, and his ravaged rasp of voice sang them as though they were timeless prayers."
Martin Colyer, Rock's Backpages --
Best of the Year: RBP's Albums of 2001
15. Leonard Cohen: Ten New Songs (Sony):
"Slinky (thanks to collaborator Sharon Robinson's extraordinary one-woman band) and Cool in the Miles Davis sense of the word, this was an album of fabulous melody and moving verse. With an intense mood that doesn't waver over 52 minutes, Cohen made an album every bit as good as I'm Your Man. Best heard as you drive through rain-soaked city streets at 3am."
Andrew Lynch, Entertainment Ireland --
CD Top 10
7. Leonard Cohen - Ten New Songs:
"When Leonard Cohen retreated to a monastery to train as a Zen monk, his fans must have despaired of ever hearing any new material from the original pop mystic. Nine years after his last studio album, however, here it is - a new opus which, incredibly enough, can stand shoulder to shoulder with all but Cohen's best work. Recorded with the aid of soul singer Sharon Robinson, Ten New Songs is a series of hypnotic meditations whose sparse arrangements push the 67-year-old's deep, rumbling vocals well to the fore. The lyrics, meanwhile, are oblique enough to keep his disciples arguing over their meaning until well into the next decade. Just one gripe: why did a record as fascinating as this one have to have such a prosaic title?"
Beta Music --
2001 Best Singles
3. Leonard Cohen-"In My Secret Life" (Sony/Columbia)
Wayne Bledsoe, The Knoxville News-Sentinel --
List of Best 2001 CDs
3. Ten New Songs, Leonard Cohen (Columbia):
"Leonard Cohen retains his place as one of music's best songwriters with this long overdue collection. His warm whispered growl may be an acquired taste, but once Cohen has snared you, there's no going back. The 10 new songs (created in collaboration with Sharon Robinson) are filled with longing, love, loss, religious analogy and brooding carnality - hallmarks of any Cohen work."
Best of 2001 Customer Favourites in Classic Rock
9. Ten New Songs ~Leonard Cohen
Amazon.co.uk's Rock Editor, Amazon.co.uk --
Best Classic Rock Albums of 2001
6. Ten New Songs ~Leonard Cohen
Eric Alterman, MSNBC --
Best Albums of 2001
...Leonard Cohen: Ten New Songs...
Rock Records of the Year
Leonard Cohen: Ten New Songs (Columbia):
"It has been nearly 10 years since The Future and the voice may have lost some darkness but has gained emotional edge, for which Cohen's collaborator, Sharon Robinson, must take some of the praise. All the old preoccupations, especially love and death, are here and treated as poetically as ever."
Ellis Widner, Style Editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette --
Best Albums of 2001
"Ten New Songs, Leonard Cohen, Columbia. Up there with I'm Your Man..."