Friday, 9 November 2007

On Leonard Cohen

David Williamson has an excellent post on Leonard Cohen: “Despair, lust and epiphany bleed together in Cohen’s canon….”

As for me, I doubt I’ve ever come across a more profound and more authentic reflection on faith than Cohen’s magnificent “Hallelujah” (1984):

Now maybe there’s a God above
But all I ever learned from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it’s no complaint you hear tonight
And it’s not some pilgrim who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a lonely Hallelujah


I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I learned 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

7 Comments:

Troy said...

Jeff Buckley's version of this song is amazing.

Alex said...

Indeed, Jeff Buckley's on "Grace" is great!

Ben Myers said...

Yeah, you've got that right: Jeff Buckley's version is nothing short of miraculous. When he sings those great lines — "It's not somebody who's seen the light / It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah" — the exquisite agony is almost unbearable.

IndieFaith said...

One of my guiding theological images is from Cohen's Anthem.

There is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in.

dan said...

I know that it probably makes me look uncultured or unhip or whatever, but I really don't like Buckley's version of that song (or much of anything by Jeff Buckley, really).

As for Cohen songs, I'd say my favourites are "Famous Blue Raincoat", "Alexandra Leaving", and "If It Be Your Will" (now that is a song one could sing in church).

Lancelot said...

thank you so much for giving props to Cohen. I've heard very few people do so recently [not that the other versions are bad- they're great] but his lyrics are profoundly gorgeous.

much love

Christopher Cocca said...

Allison Crowe's version is very good. I like the melodies of the covers but too many of them don't include the Lord of song verse. Bon Jovi does a version too.

The definitive one is Cohen. Check out the video on YouTube with the background choir and the leaves.

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