Ten New Songs is Leonard Cohen's tenth studio album, released in 2001. It was co-written and produced by Sharon Robinson. It was produced in Cohen's and Robinson's home studios in Los Angeles. It was also his first album in nearly 10 years. The album peaked at #143 on the Billboard 200, #4 in Canada (where it went platinum), #1 in Poland (where it went platinum) and #1 in Norway.
After successfully touring behind the award-winning album The Future, Cohen was awarded a Governor General's Performance Arts Award for his contribution to Canadian music in 1993 and was the subject of an hour-long CBC Radio retrospective called The Gospel According to Leonard Cohen. Cohen also published a collection of poems and songs called Stranger Music and released his second live album Cohen Live in 1994. Then, sometime that same year, Cohen unexpectedly retreated to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles to spend time with his Zen Master Joshu Sasaki, or Roshi, a sabbatical that would last five years. In 2001 the singer explained to Mojo's Sylvie Simmons, "Well, I was always going off the deep end, so it was no radical departure. When I finished my tour in '93 I was approaching the age of 60 and my old friend and teacher Roshi was approaching the age of 90, and I thought it would be the right moment to spend some more time with him...I wasn't looking for a new religion or another list of dogma." Cohen has stated in numerous interviews that throughout the success of the I'm Your Man and The Future tours, he remained desperately unhappy; in the book Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life, biographer Anthony Reynolds quotes the singer: "I'd been drinking three bottles of wine a night on the tour and one of the things I was looking for was a rest...I didn't know what else to do." Interest in Cohen only grew, however, with a tribute album called Tower of Song being released in 1995. According to Ira Nadel's 1996 Cohen memoir Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen, Cohen flirted with the idea of recording an album of fourteen short songs during this period but eventually scrapped the project (One song, "Never Any Good," would turn up on the 1997 release More Best of Leonard Cohen). In June 1999, Cohen returned to his L.A. duplex to live with his daughter and began collaborating with Sharon Robinson (co-writer of "Everybody Knows" and "Waiting for the Miracle") on what would become Ten New Songs.
In the October 2001 Rolling Stone review of the LP, Steven Chean stated, "Ten New Songs manages to sustain loss's fragile beauty like never before and might just be the Cohen's most exquisite ode yet to the midnight hour." Uncut deemed it "worth the wait." Playboy opined: "Although the tones of these odes and meditations is mournful, at the age of 67 Cohen's pessimism about the human condition is tempered with reconciliation. He'll never be cheerful, but a Zen-like serenity pervades every song."
All songs written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson.
"In My Secret Life" – 4:55
"A Thousand Kisses Deep" – 6:29
"That Don't Make It Junk" – 4:28
"Here It Is" – 4:18
"Love Itself" – 5:26
"By the Rivers Dark" – 5:20
"Alexandra Leaving" (based on The God Abandons Antony, a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy) – 5:25
"You Have Loved Enough" – 5:41
"Boogie Street" – 6:04
"The Land of Plenty" – 4:35
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