Best of Leonard Cohen -- We take a look back at the singer's finest records

By David Browne
Updated January 08, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Best of Leonard Cohen

Three of Cohen’s 11 albums are out of print, and the readily available Death of a Ladies’ Man is unlistenable. In addition to The Future, here’s the best of the rest — a road map of one man’s search for self, with the help of brooding music, introspection, and female backup choirs:

Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
The debut that shocked so many — such pretty songs, such rich orchestration, such a croaking voice — now sounds like a natural mix of lush and raw, sacred and profane, the sad and the uplifting. A

The Best Of (1975)
This collection traces his evolution from self-conscious ”poetry” (”Suzanne”) to more caustic mid-period songs like the Janis Joplin-inspired ”Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” A

Recent Songs (1979)
Music that waffles between cabaret folk and Middle Eastern violins, with lyrics that go too heavy on the metaphors. Uneven, but intermittently rewarding. B

I’m Your Man (1988)
The weathered romantic sage responds to the modern world with his most accessible pop arrangements and some of his pithiest, wittiest lyrics. A-