Tuesday, January 01, 2013


There's new book about addressing the ubiquity of the Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I won't read the book because any discussion of the song should at least include input from the creator - also, there's probably not much in there that differs from my personal viewing of the song's growth. I never knew much about Cohen until at least 2003; I had come to the song via the Jeff Buckley version around the time of his death in 1997. Being an alt.country junkie from way back, Buckley was an iconic figure in the late 90s and I no doubt bought his CD based on write-ups in magazines like Q and No Depression. Buckley's version was on about a dozen mixtapes/mix-CDs that I used while driving, at the gym, and while sitting around the house. It wasn't until later that Cohen came into my life via X and I came to know the original nearly as well as the cover. ***

The (late) popular success of the song would be a mixed bag for the younger me - someone more interested in keeping songs and artists as my little secrets. I wanted success for them, but only in the sense that I could see them tour and play venues of the size that I liked. Now? I'm considerably different when it comes to music - I'm not as secretive, I have much greater respect for what other people like, and success for any musical artist is a good thing, even Justin Bieber (which thankfully is not yet auto-correctable on my computer). The 45s that I loved when I was young were just as poppy (and vaguely nausea inducing) as what the 'tweens listen to now. The stuff of my college days was as pretentious as everyone else's ("Oh man, the fucking Style Council rules!"), and my tastes now are as varied as the next guy. The point is this, whatever gets you going is good. Great songs - Hallelujah, not Boyfriend (I had to look that up) - being played as tributes and covers ain't a bad thing.

Interesting facts? Bieber and Cohen, both Canadians. The last time we heard Hallelujah? It was being played on a ukulele by a man dressed as an elf following the tabs on his iPhone. See?

*** As for covers, Buckley's version is great, but kd lang's live version is probably the best I've ever heard.

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