After an aborted session with David Crosby, Leonard Cohen turned to producer Bob Johnston for his second album, Songs From A Room. Starting with the classic, “Bird On The Wire”, the plaintive song adds strings to the background. Here Cohen opens up, for better or worse, as he sings, “If I have been unkind/I hope that you can just let it go by”. Several songs are biblical in nature and recall Bob Dylan on tracks such as “Story of Isaac” and “The Old Revolution”. With a touch of echo in the vocal, Cohen sings of an acquaintance who committed suicide at too young of an age on the haunting “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy”.
The songs on the sophomore album sound more stark and cold than than Cohen’s classic debut album from 1967. Whereas the cover of that album shows the singer in colour, here he is shown in black/white, just a shadow. The album warms up towards the end with “Lady Midnight” that adds an organ/keyboard in the background and closes with the simple folk pop sound of “Tonight Will Be Fine” that will have the listener nodding along as Leonard Cohen sings “and I know from your smile/That tonight will be fine…for awhile”.