VARIOUS POSITIONS proved to be a transitional album for Cohen, poised halfway between the classic balladic style of RECENT SONGS and the cool electronic backing of I'M YOUR MAN. It was certainly Cohen's slickest production to date, though it seems practically spartan compared to later recordings. The slinky, European feel of the minor-key romantic plea "Dance Me to the End of Love" is Cohen at his most sensual and persuasive. "The Captain"'s shifting perspective navigates a conversation between two characters musing on the personal cost of war. Most significantly, new vistas in Cohen's work are opened up by "Hallelujah" (a highlight of Jeff Buckley's debut album nearly a decade later) and "If It Be Your Will". These two songs present themselves as musical prayers, and their fragile spirituality is a refreshing, largely unprecedented development in Cohen's dark artistic legacy.