Rolling Stone’s Review of Leonard Cohen’s First Album
Songs of Leonard Cohen
By ARTHUR SCHMIDT
MARCH 9, 1968
…The record as a whole is another matter — I don’t think I could ever tolerate all of it. There are three brilliant songs, one good one, three qualified bummers, and three are the flaming shits.
The problem is that, whether the man is a poet or not (and he is a brilliant poet), as those ridiculous ads announce in hushed tones of reverence, he is not necessarily a songwriter; his three successes (“Suzanne,” “The Master Song,” and “The Stranger Song”) are stories, ballads whose progression of meaning becomes more important to Cohen than his poetic bag of tricks. Elsewhere, this kind of delicacy, put to the rigid demands of music, sinks into doggerel: “I lit a thin green candle/To make you jealous of me/But the room just filled up with mosquitoes/They heard that my body was free.”…
The arrangements are beyond even sympathy…
From “Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen,” by Arthur Schmidt, Rolling Stone, March 9, 1968.
(Source: Rolling Stone)