The album that includes the amazing original version of hallelujah. various positions was leonard cohen's first album of the 1980s, yet was in keeping with the rest of his albums in two important respects: one, it sounded absolutely nothing like anything else anyone else was doing; two, it was a compelling reason for anyone else dealing in songs of love and its loss to wonder why they were bothering. as a lyricist, cohen has few, if any, peers—he has never been the relentless doom-monger of popular myth, but a wise, warm and frequently very funny chronicler of heartbreak. cohen, like very few others, has always appreciated that love is at least as much comedy as tragedy. various positions contains some of cohen's best—"dance me to the end of love", "coming back to you" and a shortened, accusatory version of "hallelujah", later covered to such majestic effect by jeff buckley. it also contains the bizarre country epic "the captain", in which cohen plays the part of a young officer being handed command of his unit by his dying superior. all are sung in cohen's trademark husky drone and all are the work of a writer who, here as always, uses language like vincent used paint.