Saturday, October 1, 2016

Is it a Repentant Leonard Cohen Singing 'Hallelujah' this Time?

Hallelujah: one of the most-played, and most-covered songs of our time. But, read the lyrics carefully. Is it really a good song to be singing? Is it a really a song of praise? Or, is it a song of doubt -- even, perhaps, one mocking the Bible? Anyway, I ran across this version. Cohen gives a new verse (or at least one I hadn't heard). If you listen closely, you might wonder if it isn't a repentant Cohen.
"I've done my best; I know it wasn't much.
"I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch
"I've told the truth; I didn't come here to London just to fool you
"And and though, it all went wrong
"I'll stand right here before the Lord of song
"With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah"
Cohen is known to have hidden meaning in his songs. He is a little like Isaiah that way. But, I wonder if what he is saying isn't clear.. My interpretation:
I've tried to live a goodly life and do good by God
I couldn't believe just from feeling, so I learned to believe through things tangible
I've been honest with my thoughts, and today with you in this audience in London, I am revealing the truth
I'll stand and sing before the God who judges songwriters
With nothing on my tongue but praise for God.
I note that through the whole song, he replaces "ya" (which is used in most versions you hear) with "you." I wonder if that is a sign of respect, if when he says, "you" (or "ya"), he is addressing God. So, in this version, as he confesses his belief, he chooses a more respectful vernacular. "Ya" rhymes with "Hallelujah," so that is the more natural, poetic choice, but, as a nod of respect, he chooses "you."
Music video by Leonard Cohen performing Hallelujah. (C) 2009 Sony Music Entertainment

No comments:

Post a Comment