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Old 12-24-2019, 01:17 PM
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I hate Leonard Cohen now.


I pit all covers of Cohen's Hallelujah.

Stop treating it as some kind of fucking hymn! It's just another break-up song, which has this churchy word in it, used as a kind of lament for how great the sex was but she was a bitch in the end. It's a pretty song, Cohen could turn out a catchy, mournful, mysterious song about a twisted relationship with a woman to match the best of them, but that doesn't make it religious, or an anthem to anything but how fucked up romantic relationships can be.

I don't expect anyone else to be even disturbed by this endless-covers-of-Hallelujah phenomenon much less to be gnashing their teeth but I had to put it somewhere.

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:22 PM
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I’ve always thought it was the best song with the worst lyrics ever made.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:33 PM
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I saw the documentary Leonard and Marianne: Words of Love. I wish I hadn’t. He was an overpriviledged, self-indulging userof prople. Drugs, alcohol, sex, unreliable for the people in his life. A stereotypical rock star.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
I pit all covers of Cohen's Hallelujah.

Stop treating it as some kind of fucking hymn! It's just another break-up song, which has this churchy word in it, used as a kind of lament for how great the sex was but she was a bitch in the end. It's a pretty song, Cohen could turn out a catchy, mournful, mysterious song about a twisted relationship with a woman to match the best of them, but that doesn't make it religious, or an anthem to anything but how fucked up romantic relationships can be.

I don't expect anyone else to be even disturbed by this endless-covers-of-Hallelujah phenomenon much less to be gnashing their teeth but I had to put it somewhere.

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.
I mean yes ? It's still a pretty song, I've been told. I like the Jeff Buckley cover better myself.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:47 PM
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I happen to have some information that his email address began with "baldymonk"

Also, on his death certificate, his profession was listed as "poet".

These are things I like.

Oh, and he had a really crazy stalker/former manager who stole from him and then harassed him mercilessly, which is what forced him to tour in his later years.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/n...areer-comeback
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:50 PM
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I’ve always thought it was the best song with the worst lyrics ever made.
It used to be that if you didn’t like the lyrics to Hallelujah you could just wait five years for him to write the next canonical verse.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:58 PM
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Yes, he was a self-indulgent jerk (so are millions of people who have not written any good songs), and was also a serious practicing student of zen buddhism much of his later adult life. He was a great song writer (not much of a singer). I can't in honesty blame him for what happened to this one song he wrote. It's a lot like many other songs he wrote. Why it was picked up and made into some kind of Christian anthem I can't fathom except that people are unremittingly stupid and don't care what the lyrics are. I'm sure Cohen is having a chuckle about it in whatever his reincarnated form is these days.
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Old 12-24-2019, 02:01 PM
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Yes, the song is about a breakup and not a hymn. And I can understand getting tired of so many covers of it--especially since there is so little variation in most of them from the original cover (though none sound like Cohen's original).

However, I argue the song is also explicitly religious. It does not merely use a single religious word, but refers to a biblical story--that of David and Bathsheba--and relates the breakup to that story. It seems that Cohen is using his religious background as as way to express how this breakup has made him feel. And, in doing so, he winds up indirectly exploring how David may have felt--the grief he had not when Bathsheba left him (as she didn't) but as his first child with her died in his arms.

Maybe that last bit is a slight stretch, and most people probably don't think of it that way. It only works as an allusion, as the text is still clearly about a break up. But the rest, about how it relates it to a religious story, I think qualifies it as a religious song. It's just not the typical "God is great. Rah rah rah!" song. Not a hymn, but religiously informed.

Of course, I think most people just like it because it sounds pretty when sung by people who are great singers, which Cohen emphatically claimed he was not. (Video link, but it's short. And, if you're pressed for time, the title plus the fact it was reported by the BBC is sufficient.)
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:08 PM
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There are seriously people who think "Hallelujah" is a religious song???

EDIT: Wait, you're hearing it on Christmas stations or something?

Last edited by Malleus, Incus, Stapes!; 12-24-2019 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:40 PM
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Listen to Judy Collins sing "Suzanne" and relax.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:49 PM
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There are seriously people who think "Hallelujah" is a religious song???

EDIT: Wait, you're hearing it on Christmas stations or something?
Yeah, for some reason Pentatonix has it on their Christmas album.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:49 PM
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I’ve always thought it was the best song with the worst lyrics ever made.
not just the lyrics are bad....its the rhyming.
Terrible, terrible rhymes.
The word "hallelujah" rhymes with "do ya"---sort of.
Well, not really.
Maybe I could forgive it............once.
But repeating it four times makes me want to scream.

"Do ya"
"overthrew ya"
"What's it to ya"
"fool ya"

It makes me want to yell "Hallel-YOU-YA"!!!!! the song is finally over!"


The word "hallelujah" is for serious poetry.
The word "Ya" is for baby talk.

Last edited by chappachula; 12-24-2019 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:53 PM
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Listen to Judy Collins sing "Suzanne" and relax.
I had a Suzanne and wrote about her in another thread. Wife hated her.
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Old 12-24-2019, 04:03 PM
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I’ve always thought it was the best song with the worst lyrics ever made.
Really? So many people have told me that the best song ever written is "She's Like the Wind" which was written by Patrick Swayze.

I think much of the reason for that is due to the back story. He wrote it for his wife Lisa Neimi.

If anyone is interested, there is a great documentary about Patrick Swayze - really great. It's called, "I am Patrick Swayze".

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9779560
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Old 12-24-2019, 04:17 PM
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Swayze? The Timex watch guy?
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Old 12-24-2019, 04:52 PM
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Really? So many people have told me that the best song ever written is "She's Like the Wind" which was written by Patrick Swayze.

I think much of the reason for that is due to the back story. He wrote it for his wife Lisa Neimi.

If anyone is interested, there is a great documentary about Patrick Swayze - really great. It's called, "I am Patrick Swayze".

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9779560
I liked Swayze, he seemed like a decent guy and had some good performances on screen. He gets a pass from me forever for Roadhouse alone (which while not a great or even good movie is iconic). That and the SNL sketch where he danced against Chris Farley in a Chippendale competition. Dancer, martial artist, singer-songwriter and actor, extremely talented. And I like the sentiment behind the song. But I can’t stand it.
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Old 12-24-2019, 05:21 PM
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I pit all covers of it, and the original.

I find it a tedious dirge. Nails down a blackboard for me.
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Old 12-24-2019, 05:54 PM
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Do you also hate George Michael and that other guy because of the idiots who think that "Last Christmas" is a carol? Police for the morons who are still convinced that "Every breath you take" is romantic?

It ain't the songwriter's fault if people don't wash their ears...
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:36 PM
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You gotta admit, it was an interesting choice to slap on some mariachi music as an accompany to Un Canadien errant.
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:53 PM
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I prefer "Democracy".
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Old 12-24-2019, 08:11 PM
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I mean, I don't know, what am I to pit the US, but from history I've learned that (a certain subgroup of) Americans are too dumb to interpret song lyrics beyond the chorus. See "Born In The USA", "Fortunate Son", "Rock The Casbah (!!!! WTF!!!!) and so on....
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Old 12-24-2019, 08:22 PM
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And with that out of my system, I have to add that I like the original song and some of the covers, those that don't take it as a hymn. Jeff Buckley's version is certainly not meant religiously.
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Old 12-24-2019, 08:47 PM
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However, I argue the song is also explicitly religious. It does not merely use a single religious word, but refers to a biblical story--that of David and Bathsheba--and relates the breakup to that story. It seems that Cohen is using his religious background as as way to express how this breakup has made him feel. And, in doing so, he winds up indirectly exploring how David may have felt--the grief he had not when Bathsheba left him (as she didn't) but as his first child with her died in his arms.
This is not accurate. There are many versions, but so far as I'm aware there are only two lines that refer to Bathsheba:

Quote:
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
So the focus seems to be solely on the fact that David fell for her so badly that he murdered her husband to get her. Unless there's some other part I'm unaware of that refers to their child?

There are other references to biblical women, certainly Delilah and possibly Mary.

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But the rest, about how it relates it to a religious story, I think qualifies it as a religious song. It's just not the typical "God is great. Rah rah rah!" song. Not a hymn, but religiously informed.
I don't see this at all. The references to biblical women all have some kind of negative connotation, and then how about this verse that Cohen often included:

Quote:
Maybe there's a God above
But all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's no complaint you hear tonight
It's not some pilgrim who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a lonely Hallelujah
There's just no way this can be called a religious song, even with your caveats.

Last edited by Riemann; 12-24-2019 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 09:02 PM
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Leonard Cohen, the Rod McKuen of despair.
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Old 12-24-2019, 09:29 PM
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Swayze? The Timex watch guy?
No, but his sixth cousin, once removed. Seriously.

I actually rather like Kate McKinnon's "Hallelujah" from the Election Week 2016 cold open on SNL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG-_ZDrypec

Made a very trying week a bit more bearable for three minutes. Ditto the "To Sir With Love" dedicated to Obama that SNL did.

Happy Hollandaise, SDMB.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:07 PM
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You pick a phrase, you pick a rhyme,
Repeat the sound another time,
Five iambs, then an extra beat will do ya.
Another rhyme, a rising note -
Congratulations, you just wrote
Another goddamn verse to Hallelujah.


(stolen from Facebook)
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:35 PM
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I heard there was a secret chord
That Data played and it pleased the Borg,
But you don't really care for androids, do ya?
It goes like this: the Borg, the Sith,
The crossover movie and the budget shift,
And a baffled fandom crying Hallelujah!

(Stolen from Facebook Messenger)
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Old 12-24-2019, 11:48 PM
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Do you also hate George Michael and that other guy because of the idiots who think that "Last Christmas" is a carol? Police for the morons who are still convinced that "Every breath you take" is romantic?

It ain't the songwriter's fault if people don't wash their ears...
Add “Hello” by Lionel Richie.

The lyrics are totally about a creeper who is perving all over some poor unsuspecting lady.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:26 AM
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There are seriously people who think "Hallelujah" is a religious song???

EDIT: Wait, you're hearing it on Christmas stations or something?
I don't know how often it gets played there, but I heard it once at my brother's church at the Easter Vigil (Catholic church, night before Easter). Of course, the lyrics were changed but the chorus was not. My brother and I were pretty shocked, and so was mom once we told her to check out the original song.
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Old 12-25-2019, 09:15 AM
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Listen to Judy Collins sing "Suzanne" and relax.
I can't relax now that I have jabbed pencils into my ears.
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Old 12-25-2019, 09:27 AM
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There's just no way this can be called a religious song, even with your caveats.
Would you call Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore" and "Ramble On" Tolkien-informed?
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Old 12-25-2019, 10:29 AM
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I saw the documentary Leonard and Marianne: Words of Love. I wish I hadn’t. He was an overpriviledged, self-indulging userof prople. Drugs, alcohol, sex, unreliable for the people in his life. A stereotypical rock star.
Thank you! I haven't seen the film and won't. I am personally acquainted with someone he used. He was not interested in the child that resulted (yes, she was at fault, too--this was back before The Pill and she was young and stupid. He was old and Not Stupid), and when she told LC, he allowed as how there were other children scattered around that he was also not interested in. This is hearsay, gossip (although from a primary source), may not be gospel truth, so don't sue me. But it has colored my opinion of the Man (and I can't separate that from the Songwriter), so I've never gotten in line to worship him with the rest of the world.
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Old 12-25-2019, 12:03 PM
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Old 12-25-2019, 12:16 PM
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So you hate "Hello" by Lionel Richie and "Last Christmas" by WHAM!, do you? So you think all songs should be about people who meet the one they'll be in love with forever and quickly get together with that person? Or, if they do break up with them, it will be a happy break-up where neither partner is hurt (you know, a "conscious uncoupling"). When you meet someone new and fall in love with them, that will wipe out all memory of the first love. You will never find yourself wondering if you made a mistake in breaking up with the first one, and these thoughts will never mess up your relationship with the second one. You will never spend years (or even your entire life) hoping to get somewhere with one of the people you see and would like to get together with but are rejected or ignored by all of them. Nor will you be plagued by any of the other problems that love brings. Wow, I congratulate you on the wonderfulness of your life. You shouldn't have to listen to songs about anything except perfection in love. How dare singers and songwriters bother you with their problems!
  #35  
Old 12-25-2019, 12:56 PM
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I pit all covers of it, and the original.

I find it a tedious dirge. Nails down a blackboard for me.


Why would anyone need a blackboard nailed down for them? They don’t tend to perambulate, IME.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 12-25-2019 at 12:57 PM.
  #36  
Old 12-25-2019, 01:02 PM
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Aw I just gonna go mumble and moan and stomp my way out of this thread anyway.

Last edited by Guest-starring: Id!; 12-25-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 12-26-2019, 02:30 PM
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Add “Hello” by Lionel Richie.



The lyrics are totally about a creeper who is perving all over some poor unsuspecting lady.
And while we're on the subject (well, we're back on it now, at least), the lyrics to the Temptations classic "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" are creepy AF. Beautiful song ... until you stop and think about the words. (Not gonna try to link to a lyrics page from this crappy Tapatalk app, but I trust any curious readers can find such without much difficulty.)

Sent from my SM-S727VL using Tapatalk
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Old 12-26-2019, 05:11 PM
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I don't know how often it gets played there, but I heard it once at my brother's church at the Easter Vigil (Catholic church, night before Easter). Of course, the lyrics were changed but the chorus was not. My brother and I were pretty shocked, and so was mom once we told her to check out the original song.
You know that there is a long tradition of reusing music with new lyrics, right? For instance Greensleeves which is about the village girl everyone knows (or alternatively the creepy village stalker) became What Child is This?.
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Old 12-26-2019, 05:14 PM
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So you hate "Hello" by Lionel Richie and "Last Christmas" by WHAM!, do you? So you think all songs should be about people who meet the one they'll be in love with forever and quickly get together with that person? Or, if they do break up with them, it will be a happy break-up where neither partner is hurt (you know, a "conscious uncoupling"). When you meet someone new and fall in love with them, that will wipe out all memory of the first love. You will never find yourself wondering if you made a mistake in breaking up with the first one, and these thoughts will never mess up your relationship with the second one. You will never spend years (or even your entire life) hoping to get somewhere with one of the people you see and would like to get together with but are rejected or ignored by all of them. Nor will you be plagued by any of the other problems that love brings. Wow, I congratulate you on the wonderfulness of your life. You shouldn't have to listen to songs about anything except perfection in love. How dare singers and songwriters bother you with their problems!
What thread did you mistake this one for, I wonder.
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Old 12-26-2019, 05:48 PM
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What thread did you mistake this one for, I wonder.
I don't know if Wendell's version of SDMB sets the threads to music, but he doesn't appear to be reading the lyrics.

Last edited by Riemann; 12-26-2019 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 12-26-2019, 07:44 PM
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Hallelujah?
Is it me you're looking for?

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Old 12-26-2019, 07:55 PM
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The best version:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ot3z7mrFLbs
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Old 12-26-2019, 09:22 PM
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Actually, this is the best version.
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Old 12-26-2019, 10:48 PM
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This is not accurate. There are many versions, but so far as I'm aware there are only two lines that refer to Bathsheba:
It's the first and second verses which refers to that story--they're all connected.

David used to play this chord, which he composed when he was watching Bathsheba. And then the speaker describes how they had sex and it broke David's connection to the divine. The "throne" line at the end of verse two shows it's still about David.

Quote:
So the focus seems to be solely on the fact that David fell for her so badly that he murdered her husband to get her. Unless there's some other part I'm unaware of that refers to their child?

There are other references to biblical women, certainly Delilah and possibly Mary.
It does allude to Samson and Delilah, but it does so in the context of talking about the story with David. It is that what he did with Bathsheba broke David's connection to God, same as when Samson's hair was cut.

However, it also mentions breaking David's throne, i.e. cutting off his kingdom. God kills David's intended descendant, his child with Bathsheba. (Granted, this can also be connected with various other aspects of how David's kingdom was broken, like with his other sons, or with how the kingdom broke in two after Solomon.)

Quote:
I don't see this at all. The references to biblical women all have some kind of negative connotation, and then how about this verse that Cohen often included:

Quote:
Maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
There's just no way this can be called a religious song, even with your caveats.
Yes, the allusions are all negative. And it does end with the speaker questioning if God even exists. However, I don't see how that negates all the religious allusions, which make up the bulk of the first two verse.

It isn't a hymn, as it doesn't praise God. It isn't positive towards religion at all. But neither is Ecclesiastes but it's flat out in the Bible, so you can hardly argue it isn't religious.

It is clear that Cohen's religion is what informs the song. That is why he relates his experience with these Biblical stories. Whether he believes in God or not, it is the religious stories he learned as a Jewish person which inform the song.

In short, the song's first two verses are religious allusions. How can you argue it is in no way religious?

Last edited by BigT; 12-26-2019 at 10:52 PM.
  #45  
Old 12-27-2019, 12:20 AM
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Someone I know told me she used "Hallelujah" for the song as she came down the aisle for her wedding. I said, "Um, have you listened to the lyrics?" She said no, she just thought the tune was lovely, and of course, "Hallelujah" is religious, right? I said not in that song, and she shrugged and said well, it was pretty anyway.

I've been a fan of Cohen's for a very long time. I am not, however, a music critic, and I doubt my words would cause Cohen-disparagers to change their minds. The New York Times referenced his "sophisticated, magnificently succinct lyrics," and called "Hallelujah" "a majestic, meditative ballad infused with both religiosity and earthiness."

In an excellent New Yorker piece, Bob Dylan said

Quote:
“When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius,” Dylan said. “Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music.
And commented on "Hallelujah":

Quote:
In the late eighties, Dylan performed “Hallelujah” on the road as a roughshod blues with a sly, ascending chorus. His version sounds less like the prettified Jeff Buckley version than like a work by John Lee Hooker. “That song ‘Hallelujah’ has resonance for me,” Dylan said. “There again, it’s a beautifully constructed melody that steps up, evolves, and slips back, all in quick time. But this song has a connective chorus, which when it comes in has a power all of its own. The ‘secret chord’ and the point-blank I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself aspect of the song has plenty of resonance for me.”
Then again maybe, if you hate Cohen's music, nobody else's assessment is going to matter.
  #46  
Old 12-27-2019, 01:10 AM
elucidator is online now
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Leonard Cohen: Portnoy's Complaint, The Musical!
  #47  
Old 12-27-2019, 05:16 AM
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This has been a very eye-opening discussion - both of music and of Cohen.

For anyone who may be interested, Cohen has an "official web site". But there is another site that contains many good discussions by his fans: https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com

I found that site to be much more informative and more interesting than any of the other sites I have visited.
  #48  
Old 12-27-2019, 07:08 AM
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First, the title of the thread was hyperbole. I don't hate Leonard Cohen, or his songs. I just hate people who don't listen to lyrics. Maybe I should get it retitled.

Second, a song with biblical cultural references is not a hymn, it is not a praise song, it does not glorify God. The word Hallelujah in this song does not appear to mean "Praise Yahweh", its literal translation. It means something like "how great sex was with you, really a spiritual experience, but now my memory of it is all spoiled you bitch". The theme of sex being an aspect of the divine while torturing a man because women are so treacherous is one of Cohen's major themes.

The biblical references are to the stories of David and Bathsheba, which is a about David's lust leading to murder by proxy (but somehow in the song it's Bathsheba's fault for being so attractive), and Delilah cutting Samson's hair and destroying his power (she was paid by the Philistines to figure out how to destroy him), after which her people blinded and imprisoned him, which in the song is a metaphor for the power attractive women have over men and how they abuse it. In the Bible, the story is probably more meant to illustrate the result of breaking faith with God -- Samson was specially consecrated to God as a 'Nazarite'; as part of this commitment Nazarites did not cut their hair.

All in all, neither edifying about religion or sexual relationships but a really catchy tune with a religious word as the refrain.
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Old 12-27-2019, 08:45 AM
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Well now I am going to have this song stuck in my head for a week. Thanks guys.

Fortunately, I like Hallelujah.

So I'm going to share a YouTube video that talk about the church choir in the chorus. It's from a channel called 12 tone which, if you dig on music theory is great and you should watch the whole video where he anylizes the melody and then go back and watch the first video where he talk about how the song uses tonal ambiguity to underline the message of the lyrics.

But if you aren't down with music theory skip to 3:28 here. It's good stuff. Lots of terrible covers though.
  #50  
Old 12-27-2019, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Actually, this is the best version.
You didn't even listen to.my offering, much less in the correct frame of mind, with headphones and high.

And that woman isn't even the best singer.

ETA: Harumph!

Last edited by dropzone; 12-27-2019 at 05:10 PM.
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