HALLELUJAH

After viewing an episode of the  TV program, “Cold Case” a very beautiful and haunting song was sung near the end of the show. I had never heard that song before. Its chorus refrain “Hallelujah” stayed with me even after the song ended and the end credits came on.

 When I first heard this song I felt that it had religious connotations to it. I felt that it was a man talking to God and trying to comes to terms with his faith. That I have never read the words to it, and that I never have heard it enough to know the words by heart to be able to comprehend their meaning, caused the meaning of the song to be lost on me. I guess you could say that what many people say about rap music, I too, could have said the same about this song:

“It’s got a good beat/melody, but, what about the lyrics?”

Turns out the song has a different meaning behind it, than the meaning I had envisioned.

I stopped by Yolanda Carrington’s blogsite, The Primary Contradiction (http://genderracepower.com  ) just cruising along to see what she was posting about, when lo, and behold, she had posted about this song. While reading her words, I thought to myself:  “Hey, can this song be the one sung on that Cold Case episode?” I clicked onto the video, listened, and was happy that I stopped by Yolanda’s. I had finally found this lovely song, and could now hear it.

 Then and there, I learned the actual meaning of this song was different from what I had thought it was all this time. Here’s Yolanda’s description of “Hallelujah”:

http://www.genderracepower/?p=425

“I first heard the song above when I was nineteen, in the closing credits of an MTV documentary about the by then-late Tupac Shakur, performed by the equally late Jeff Buckley. It would be a full decade before I learned that “Hallelujah” was a Leonard Cohen composition. From the day I first heard those verses, rendered by Jeff’s ethereal voice, I have loved this song.

Here’s a clip of the Ladies’ Man himself performing “Hallelujah” on German television in that wonderful talk-sing baritone of his. As a church girl from way back, y’all know this song hits me right in the heart. Not a small feat for one of the most erotically bittersweet songs about lost love ever written. Enjoy.”

I still cannot listen to this song without thinking of religious thoughts:  God, salvation, redemption? Or secular, worldly lost love, that tears at a person, years after the lover has gone from sight?

Maybe it’s all those “Hallelujahs” that do it.

Anway click on the link above and listen to the original songwriter, Leonard Cohen, sing the song himself. (Pay careful attention to the chorus/backup singers in the background. Near the beginning when Leonard is singing, you see a couple of singers peeking from behind the columns waiting for their cue to come out singing.)

Here is Jeff Buckley’s version as well, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsa_xWLOghg&mode=related&search=

Here is Rufus Wainwright’s version which I think was the one I heard on Cold Case, since the piano was the only musical instrument used to accompany the singer’s beautiful voice, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMrZ7lChK-g&mode=related&search

Enjoy, indeed.

HALLELUJAH

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

4 Comments

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4 responses to “HALLELUJAH

  1. It is such a beautiful song and it’s open to interpretation. My favorite version is by Allison Crowe

  2. Pingback: Singing Blog Feeds » Blog Archive » HALLELUJAH

  3. If you ask me, the song can be about all kinds of love, religious and personal. Like Holly says, it’s open to interpretation. The meaning that I take away is that the lyrics sing of lost love and/or of a crisis of faith, especially with those opening lines about King David and his secret chord that he played for the Lord.

    Cohen was deeply influenced by the music and religious teaching of the synagogue in his childhood, and that reverence comes through in the song. As someone who was also deeply influenced by Bible teachings, that reverence hit me like a ton of bricks. But it’s a reverence that’s better understood when you’ve been estranged from the House of God for awhile, as many creative artists and political activists have. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of faith—whether that’s faith in love or faith in the Holy Ghost—it’s easier to appreciate the meaning of this song.

    What I most love about “Hallelujah” is that there’s no artificial separation between the secular and the spiritual, a mistake made all too often by religious and non-religious people alike. In both realms—faith, love, and the loss of both are one in the same. I wish more people understood that.

  4. Evilpa

    The version from Cold Case was sung by John Cale. http://www.tunefind.com/show/cold-case/season-3/1876

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