Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Leonard Cohen: Various Positions [Passport, 1985]
With a new crop of beautiful losers arising out of the latest bohemia as inexorably as ailanthus out of a vacant lot, the man who wrote the book is worth attending, because he's not bitter. After all, righteous anger has never been his long suit, and what does he have to be bitter about? At fifty, he's still living comfortably off the fruits of his spiritual torment. Of course, not every loser is so talented, or resilient, The hymn "If It Be Your Will" and the fable "The Captain" are as rich and twisted as anything in his career, and "The Law" does justice to his patented romantic irony, which by now has a soothing glow. If you're sick of hearing him whisper in your ear that to be a roue is a religious calling, so be it--me, I think this is a better advertisement for middle-aged sex than Dynasty. B+