With a fading romantic's unabashed memory of love and its ironies, a poet's love of words and their connections, a novelist's eye for character and detail, and a vocal style that sounds like the last sound a candle would make as it burns its own life down to nothing much left at all, Leonard Cohen
isn't exactly folk, country, blues, or rock. He is his own designate. This double-disc set has most of his defining songs, including the gauzy and poetic "Suzanne," the brilliant "Bird on the Wire," the all-at-once fatalistic and romantic "Dance Me to the End of Love," the ominous and haunted "I'm Your Man," and the, well, towering "Tower of Song," among others. No one sings late-night talk about love and its desperate power of redemption better than Cohen
. His weariness and resignation seem earned, and the gist of it is collected here.