Various Positions

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For the film of the same name, see Various Positions (film).
Various Positions
Studio album by Leonard Cohen
Released December 11, 1984 (Canada)
February 1985 (US, Europe)
Recorded June 1984 at Quadrasonic Sound, New York
Genre Folk rock
Length 35:29
Label Columbia, Passport
Producer John Lissauer
Leonard Cohen chronology

Recent Songs
(1979)
Various Positions
(1984)
I'm Your Man
(1988)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Robert Christgau (B+) link
Rolling Stone (mixed) link
Yahoo! Music (favorable) link

Various Positions is the seventh studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in December 1984 (and February 1985). It marked not only his turn to the modern sound and use of synthesizers (particularly on the opening track), but also, after his work on harmonies and backing vocals on the previous Recent Songs (1979), an even greater contribution from Jennifer Warnes, who is credited equally to Cohen as vocalist on all of the tracks.

Release history[edit]

After the abandoned 1975 project Songs for Rebecca Leonard Cohen again joined forces with producer John Lissauer. However, Cohen's label Columbia Records refused to release Various Positions in the US. Walter Yetnikoff, president of the company, called him to his office in New York and said, "Look, Leonard; we know you're great, but we don't know if you're any good"[1]. It was subsequently picked up by the independent label Passport Records. The album was eventually included in the catalogue in 1990 when Columbia released the Cohen discography on compact disc. A remastered CD was issued in 1995.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Leonard Cohen.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Dance Me to the End of Love" (feat. string arrangements by David Campbell) - 4:38
  2. "Coming Back to You" - 3:32
  3. "The Law" - 4:27
  4. "Night Comes On" - 4:40

Side two[edit]

  1. "Hallelujah" - 4:36
  2. "The Captain" - 4:06
  3. "Hunter's Lullaby" - 2:24
  4. "Heart with No Companion" - 3:04
  5. "If It Be Your Will" - 3:43

Personnel[edit]

Songs[edit]

"Dance Me to the End of Love", which Allmusic calls "Serge Gainsbourg-esque" in their review of the album,[2] remains one of Cohen's signature songs. In 2004, jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux covered the song in her album "Careless Love"; the version even became a hit in Brazil. The unusually straightforward love song "Coming Back to You" was covered by both Trisha Yearwood and Martin L. Gore on the Cohen tribute album Tower of Song. Ron Sexsmith performed "Heart With No Companion" on his eponymous 1995 release. The best-known, and most-covered song on the album, however, is the fifth track, "Hallelujah". "If It Be Your Will" also appears on Tower of Song, performed by Jann Arden. The song was further covered by Antony and the Johnsons frontman Antony Hegarty for the 2005 documentary, "I'm Your Man".

"Hallelujah", "Dance Me to the End of Love" and "If It Be Your Will" all appear on the Canadian singer Patricia O'Callaghan's fifth solo album Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen released in 2011.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohen, quoting Yetnikoff, in "Yakety Yak, 1994". Retrieved October 8, 2005. 
  2. ^ "Various Positions". Retrieved October 8, 2005.