Technically, Cohen isn't much of a singer, but he's effective at channeling the multiple personalities his songs call for. His lyrics, meanwhile, are pure poetry -- alternately funny and depressing, moving and unsettling. Backed by what sounds like a drunken Dixieland horn section at 16 rpm, the humorous "Prayer in the Black and White" offers prayers to Eisenhower, Leave It to Beaver, and The Andy Griffith Show. But "Rigormortis (On the Ridge)" is more representative. An ode to his retirement community -- where "pinochle is a religion every Wednesday night" -- it's the most haunting song to reference both "mucous trails" and "frozen entrees" in the same verse. And that's high praise.
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