The Arizona Republic, US
December 6, 2001

Review of Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs

by Michael Senft

Contributed by Stranger Management and Friends

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*** 1/2

Cohen must have finally discovered inner peace, because he's putting out albums again. Ten New Songs is the first studio album in nine years from the reclusive Canadian poet/singer, who has spent much of the past decade in a Zen monastery. Listening to this new record, it is obvious that the monastic life agreed with Cohen. Gone is the abstract fatalism of his last studio outing, 1992's The Future, as well as the denser sound he flirted with in his '80s work. Accompanied only by keyboard player/programmer Sharon Robinson, who also produced, Cohen returns with a set of songs that older fans will welcome for their accessibility as well as their beauty. Robinson's voice also provides a wonderful counterpoint to Cohen's smoky, rumbling vocals, amply filling the role Jennifer Warnes occupied through much of Cohen's '80s work. Oddly, the arrangements are reminiscent of another irascible rock icon, former Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, only without the arena-rock trappings. So, while nothing achieves the sublime majesty of the classic "Hallelujah," or even the pessimism of "Waiting for a Miracle," Ten New Songs does prove that Cohen's extended hiatus has not dampened his poetic prowess.

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