Leonard Cohen Songs Ranked

Leonard Norman Cohen CCGOQ (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, depression, sexuality, loss, death, and romantic relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize. Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. His 11th album, Dear Heather, followed in 2004. Following a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2013, Cohen released three albums in the last five years of his life: Old Ideas (2012), Popular Problems (2014) and You Want It Darker (2016), the last of which was released three weeks before his death. A posthumous album titled Thanks for the Dance was released in November 2019, his fifteenth and final studio album. Here are all of Leonard Cohen’s songs ranked.

Don’t miss out on the music of Leonard Cohen below! Click to find out why he is one of the most recognizable voices!

20. Democracy (The Future, 1992)

“Democracy is ironically martial, uptempo, sinister. Pure poetry and music and a great back-up group really make this his best recording ever in my opinion. HIs voice is deeper and richer — maybe it’s due to age, but whatever it is, it works.”

19. I’m Your Man (I’m Your Man, 1988)

“His electro ballad style morphs into this drum machine rant of gothic city anthems. A cool, urban life, dark glasses record that puts Leonard Cohen as the master of ceremonies and back on the spotlight. The songs are revolved by atmospheric plastic, karaoke beats, while Cohen sings as the soul of the party.”

18. Here It Is (Ten New Songs, 2001)

“What else can I say…the man, the poet, the musician, Leonard is a genius and this album is one of his best.  A great one, and one of Cohen’s very best, if you ask me.”

17. Steer Your Way (You Want It Darker, 2016)

“Leonard Cohen is one of those artists I found quite late in my musical preferences, but once I found the brilliance, I haven’t looked back much. His lyrical side and the feelings he gets into music are at times really overwhelming.”

See more: Leonard Cohen Albums Ranked

16. The Future (The Future, 1992)

“The Future is a gratifyingly rude record. It’s rude about everything; young pretenders, old rivals, fraying inamoratas, new-fangled ideas, erstwhile follies: I miss you since the place got wrecked / by the winds of change and the weeds of sex. It’s rude about authority, its shibboleths, and articles of faith.”

15. Avalanche (Songs of Love and Hate, 1971)

“Leonard Cohen’s music can bring me tears, laughter and a sense of wonder about this odd universe we are swimming in. What could be better? More Leonard Cohen!”

14. In My Secret Life (Ten New Songs, 2001)

“Leonard Cohen sings and you think he is singing only to you and you alone!!! Has a tremendous voice….like no other. Highly recommend his music!!”

13. So Long, Marianne (Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967)

“The song sounds alive, it has a really catchy melody, great singing and lyrics and is pretty much perfect all around. The female vocals support Cohens singing very well, they sound almost made by children.”

12. Diamonds in the Mine (Songs of Love and Hate, 1971)

“Incredible tune. It features perhaps the catchiest hook Cohen has ever done, but he still doesn’t let up on the great lyrics and fine acoustic guitar. He made it look easy to write songs such as this one. I tend to throw the word epic a lot, but i think this is one of the few folk tunes that can actually qualify for that.”

11. You Want It Darker (You Want It Darker, 2016)

“The songs are achingly beautiful. He returns to familiar themes but with new twists. If it is his last album then this is exactly the way to say goodbye.”

10. Who by Fire (New Skin for the Old Ceremony, 1974)

“The song I like best of these is “Who by Fire”, a Biblical-influenced meditation on death and the many, varied methods of getting there.”

9. Everybody Knows (I’m Your Man, 1988)

“Singing truth with bare knuckled grit, this song is more relevant today than when it was written. Everybody knows the dice are loaded, everybody knows the fix is in…everybody knows the war is over, everybody know the good guys lost. This is a political ballad and more.”

8. The Stranger Song (Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967)

“Both the two tunes are amazing. The Stranger Song is the darkest one here, whilst Sisters of Mercy is simply beautiful. They are done in a pretty similar fashion, just an acoustic guitar, some minimal backing up instruments and Cohens human voice. How it works so well is beyond me, both the lyrics and melodies are superb.”

7. First We Take Manhattan (I’m Your Man, 1988)

“Definitely my favorite Cohen song. The lyrics are a bit cryptic, but it takes you on a journey. It’s physically impossible to sing along to “First We Take Manhattan” (in particular the “Then we take Berlin” part) without moving your arms from side to side in a bit of cabaret showmanship to match the song’s rhythmic movement.” 

See more: Warren Zevon Albums Ranked

6. Hallelujah (Various Positions, 1984)

“This is one of his most timeless songs and as such has been covered to perfection by – among others – John Cale and Jeff Buckley. While the latter may be the better singer, there is just something about Mr. Cohen’s own version that does it to me. Every time.”

5. Anthem (The Future, 1992)

“A concise and poetic assessment of life put very beautifully… his gravelly voice contrasts with the lovely music and female back-up… with repeated listening, it grows on you until the point where you can’t get enough of it.”

4. Dance Me to the End of Love (Various Positions, 1984)

“In spite of the digital 80s background (not too harmful here), the song is quite nice and beautiful. However, I can’t help thinking that his melody has been strongly inspired by “La nave del olvido” verse written by José José in 1969.”

3. Bird on the Wire (Songs from a Room, 1969)

“This is a beautiful song, but I’ve always preferred the Joe Cocker version. Being more acquainted with that version, i find I prefer it to this, the original.”

2. Famous Blue Raincoat (Songs of Love and Hate, 1971)

“The best work of master songwriter Leonard Cohen. It has a vague and yet complicated concept and you just can’t stop listening to it! This song is incredible. For everybody, it has many mean. There is a story in this song”

1. Suzanne (Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967)

“This is the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It does things to my heart that I can’t even describe. Leonard Cohen is a lyrical genius and one of my favorite artists ever. Simply and completely beautiful.”