They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and in the instance of the new album from Adam Cohen it is fair to say in this case this is an accurate description as his father’s influence is all over this record. Having Leonard Cohen as a father and lifelong influence in his life was sometimes hard for Cohen to deal with and while on his first two records he tried to move away from his father’s influence and indeed genre of music now with his new record Like A Man he embraces his heritage.
Like A Man is an acoustic album of beautiful melodies where the theme of love is omnipresent. The first song on the album is Out of Bed and from the opening line “For you I’d try to make it rain in the desert, I’d ask the mountains to kneel down” I knew that this was going to be a wonderfully emotive album full of excellent imagery. Out Of Bed is a song where the narrator is describing his love but how even though he has these deep feelings he is unable to keep his promises but that he loves her all the same. With an opening line of that calibre it is the perfect opening to the album.
Songs of note on the album include Like A Man where he describes himself as the stereotypical male even though he doesn’t want to be. However he wants her to be the stereotypical woman. It is a song of contradiction but a song that would resonate with many other people. Similar in lyrical style to this song would be Overrated where he believes love is over rated but he still wants it anyway. What Other Guy is another song of note where the narrator claims to know everything about his woman and poses the question what other guy knows her like that. It is a gorgeous declaration of love and of knowing someone so well and when mixed with sublime guitar playing it is the perfect marriage of melody and lyrics.
A song of special mention would be Sweet Dominique. Where most of the songs have the guitar as the main backing instrument to Cohen’s sublime vocals in this song there is a wonderful organ sounding like melody which has an almost religious feel to the music. It is accompanied with the most beautiful lyrics including “You opened like a flower in the heat, your beauty on my eyes like a masterpiece” and also the wonderful line “I didn’t know we could go so many kisses deep” reminiscent of his father’s song A Thousand Kisses Deep. This song also includes the brilliant line “If love was like a mountain you took me to its peak”.
Another song where the lyrics remind me of Cohen‘s father is in Beautiful. This song describes that even if there were many disasters in the world like the examples he uses including if the Hollywood sign catches fire that he would want to tell his lover “Thank you for being so beautiful”. The line “farewell New York City, farewell Bethlehem, so long Willy Shakespeare, so long Marianne” is most certainly a homage to his father’s song So Long Marianne.
My favourite song on the album is the final song Stranger. It is definitely a case for me of saving the best until last. Ironically an album of love songs it is the only song where love is not the central theme. It describes how we all live together but that essentially we are all strangers and are just passing through. This song instantly reminded me of the song Passing Through sang and arranged by his father and originally written by Richard (Dick) Blakeslee.
Looking at the album Like A Man as a whole I feel it works well and the chosen songs and placements work well together. Mixing beautiful melodies with soulful lyrics makes for a perfect combination. While I have noticed the influence of his father I do believe this is an excellent record which would appeal to anyone who likes acoustic music. Cohen’s vocals are wonderfully relaxing. On my first listen to this album I was instantly reminded of David Kitt and I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of his music.