Monday, March 13, 2023

"The eternal desire to lose oneself in a chorus of hallelujahs"

About Leonard Cohen’s most well-known song:
.... “Hallelujah” may have the 12/8 timing and major chords that work so well for gospel music and wedding processionals, but it’s ultimately a story of fear and failure: “I did my best, it wasn't much.” Cohen dedicated it to “the broken.”

Sunday Times critic Bryan Appleyard observed that among all the verses available to cover artists, “Only two possibilities predominated: either this was a wistful, ultimately feel good song or it was an icy, bitter commentary on human relations.” The first, crowd-pleasing possibility only lasted one-and-a-half stanzas, but it’s amplified by the eternal desire to lose oneself in a chorus of hallelujahs. The rest of the lyrics attest to the author’s inability to live in a state of grace.

This is unfortunate. Audiences long for a serious, modern poem about the Creator blessing human desire. .... (more)
Among the many, many covers, I picked this one:

Katya Sedgwick, "Cohen’s Hallelujah," First Things, March 13, 2023.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:00 PM

    I am sorry to read this. I have always been captivated by the melody of this song, and thought of it as a song of redemption.


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