ALBUM TITLE: Various Positions
ARTIST: Leonard Cohen
VINYL STATUS: Second-Hand
It’s hard to review this album without some hefty rose-coloured glasses clouding my judgement - this album is one of my long-time loves, coupled with the sudden loss of this legend last year.
Harking back to 1984, 'Various Positions' is equal parts comforting and terrifyingly sad. Boasting one of Cohen’s most famous tracks (Hallelujah), the album is a slightly more modern offering than his previous LPs; Cohen’s warm and wispy tones drizzle over the top of synthesizers and folksy backing vocals.
Also featuring just a tinge of country and western peeking through (particularly on 'Heart with No Companion' and 'The Captain'), none of the tracks are audibly complicated – but it’s the wistful and occasionally dark lyrics that truly push this dreamy journey to new heights.
On the surface it’s not a flawless album – at times the reverb is quite heavy-handed, however there’s just something about Cohen’s whiskey-soaked pipes as he flows from track to track that distracts from the occasional overuse.
Undoubtedly the biggest highlight is the bittersweet 'Hallelujah', which eventually would take on a life of its own following the haunting Jeff Buckley cover version.
All up, 'Various Positions' is an intriguing, coherent album that will simultaneously leave you feeling like you’ve been hugged by a loved one and left out in the rain – but Leonard’s got an umbrella, so you’ll be ok.
LABEL: Columbia Records
GENRE: Folk Rock
RELEASE DATE(S): December 1984 (Canada), February 1985 (USA, Europe)
BY TIANA SPETER