Lana Del Rey sings Leonard Cohen's Chelsea Hotel: watch. (VIDEO)

Watch Lana Del Rey Sing Leonard Cohen

Watch Lana Del Rey Sing Leonard Cohen

Brow Beat has moved! You can find new stories here.
Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 28 2013 3:41 PM

Lana Del Rey Sings Leonard Cohen

Last year, I wondered why covers of Leonard Cohen songs were usually disappointing. Cohen is a great performer, of course, but not a virtuoso one; surely someone besides Jeff Buckley can put their definitive stamp on one of his tunes—the way Hendrix did with a Dylan song, Aretha Franklin did with an Otis Redding record, and so on? The post prompted some good suggestions in the comments: Tori Amos’s “Famous Blue Raincoat,” Teddy Thompson’s very fine “Tonight Will Be Fine,” and more. But none dissuaded me of the initial premise.

Lana Del Rey is well-suited for Cohen’s lyrics, given her often husky and surprisingly agile voice and how much she trucks in nostalgia. This version of “Chelsea Hotel #2” is a pleasant enough—though perhaps overly faithful—interpretation. Still, if you need me, I’ll be listening to Cohen’s original version again.

David Haglund is the literary editor of