Short Cuts

Much has been made of the fact that Cohen's father is the poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen, and that's unfortunate. They're very different kinds of artists. For starters, Leonard Cohen composes folk songs, Adam Cohen soul and rock music. To be more specific, Adam Cohen has a lot of U2 in him, some Marvin Gaye and Randy Newman, and no Joan Baez whatsoever. More important, his music has a passion that isn't normally associated with celebrity progeny. And the intensity and intelligence of his songwriting is sorely needed in any generation.

"Tell Me Everything" starts the album off on a dark note and a slow funk rhythm -- a cross between Bono and Miles Davis. "Tell me man, are you sleeping with her/Because I am/I see her strength in your eyes, yeah there she is." The dark mood continues in the songs that follow, as even the titles attest: "Cry Ophelia," "Don't Mean Anything," "This Pain." In "Quarterback" the anger is less subtle. "Go shove you on him and score/Stay where the grass is trim and clean and green whore/... Why can't your cheers be for me/Instead of that quarterback/My little homecoming queen/ Is skinning her knees for the king."

Of course Cohen's career is just beginning, and his musical influences are still fairly obvious. "Sister" isn't the only song that harkens back to Prince. But what he's done with the music is nonetheless strong and personal. As for the lyrics, they're the work of a poet. In this, at least, he is like his father.

-- Barry Lank

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