December 20, 2009 – 4:19 am

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Songs Of Leonard Cohen [no label, 1CD]

Fans of Beck have been having a field day over the past five months or so when the singer-songwriter decided to do something spontaneous - record an album in a day - and put up the results on his Record Club page on his website (

Beck does not offer a mere mp3 download. He streams a video clip of the song, featuring the musicians recording the track.

This is what Beck’s Record Club is about:

The Record Club is an informal meeting of various musicians to record an album in a day. The album chosen to be reinterpreted is used as a framework. Nothing is rehearsed or arranged ahead of time. A track is put up here once a week. The songs are rough renditions, often first takes that document what happened over the course of a day as opposed to a polished rendering. There is no intention to ‘add to’ the original work or attempt to recreate the power of the original recording. Only to play music and document what happens.

The first project of the Record Club was the Velvet Underground & Nico album. Songs Of Leonard Cohen is the second project and for those who lack the necessary internet tools to record the audio off video clips, RandyB has made this compilation to be shared on the internet. Thanks RandyB.

Joining Beck in the studio are Devendra Banhart; Ben, Andrew and Matt from MGMT; Andrew Stockdale (Wolfmother); Binki Shapiro (Little Joy) and Beck’s own bandmembers Brian Lebarton and Bram Inscore.

What really comes across is the immediacy of the performances and that everyone¬† knew their Cohen! In other words, in spite of the “modern” instrumentation, it still veers towards the reverential side but one highlight must surely be Beck and company’s take on Master Song where they not only out-Prince Prince but also bring you back to the time when the Beastie Boys ruled the airwaves and dancefloors. Another highlight is Teachers. If Leonard Cohen’s debut album was seen as “a reaction against the psychedelic band-oriented styles” [said the wiki], then Teachers ironically brings Cohen full circle, you can’t get further away than a punkified Cohen!

As with any covers project, there will be those who are abhored by what they hear. For instance, Cohen fan Jeff Gordinier posted this item on the Details blog, “You’re A Loser, Baby: How Beck Ruined A Perfectly Great Leonard Cohen Song With His Smug Attitude.”

Beck has already started on his third project - Skip Spence’s Oar - and, at the moment, six tracks are already available for viewing/listening.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Suzanne (6.7MB)
Track 02. Master Song (9.1MB)
Track 03. Winter Lady (3.8MB)
Track 04. The Stranger Song (7.4MB)
Track 05. Sisters of Mercy (6.3MB)
Track 06. So Long, Marianne (9.5MB)
Track 07. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye (6.1MB)
Track 08. Stories Of The Street (7.0MB)
Track 09. Teachers (5.6MB)
Track 10. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (7.8MB)

Click here to order Beck’s latest release, Modern Guilt.

  1. 13 Responses to “BECK - SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN”

  2. hey bigo, i haven’t listened to leonard cohen much, but i did enjoy this walking earlier. thanks!!!


    By Ed Saad on Dec 20, 2009

  3. Superb cover songs by Beck in tribute to a great gentleman Leonard Cohen!
    Thanks ;-)

    By Rochacrimson on Dec 20, 2009

  4. Would be nice to also hear the Velvet Underground & Nico output…..

    By Andy on Dec 21, 2009

  5. Thanks for some Beck. He doesn’t show up here much.

    By Matt on Dec 24, 2009

  6. My best friend from college, Lucia G., she introduced me to Leonard Cohen long ago. Lucia is no longer alive, but whenever I hear Cohen songs, or creative tributes like this fusion, I am reminded of how wonderful the world is. Thanks to all the artists. And for John W. who sent the link to me.

    By Doualy on Mar 1, 2010

  7. Thanks - sounds good.

    By Hairypotter on Jun 25, 2013

  8. Track 9 won’t load, in case it can be fixed….

    By DonInFremont on Jun 25, 2013

  9. track 7 doesnt load either

    By walter on Jun 27, 2013

  10. thanks for posting and for fixing the two links, great performances here

    By walter on Jun 27, 2013

  11. Finally a set where all the links work! Can’t wait to listen to it.

    By Jeff Powell on Nov 3, 2017

  12. Dreadful. It sounds like Kraftwerk making fun of him. RIP

    By Parsons on May 4, 2018

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