Monday, February 20, 2006

Hallelujah

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Maybe I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
I've been listening to this quite a lot over the past few days, so much so that I've been humming it continuously. The references for the first two verses are pretty obvious, but what are the next three about? I've been trying to figure it out. Maybe there arn't any. Perhaps its just the writers personal experiences, but if anyone knows if they do reference some text or event I appreciate a commecnt with the explaination.

If you are wondering why I have been listening to it so often (apart from it being a great song) its because it is used on the Soundtrack of two movies I've seen recently, 'Shrek' and 'Lord of War'. The 'Lord of War' version seems to have a full orchestral backing, but a quick check on amazon suggests that it isn't on the soundtrack.

The soundtrack to 'Lord of War' was composed by Antonio Pinto and if you are a fan of acoustic guitar music inspired by a range of European cultures then by all means grab yourself a copy. I personally quite like the subtle variation between the first and last tracks.

If anyone knows the actual recording used in 'Lord of War' please feel free to point me in the right direction. I know that there is a Leonard Cohen version and a Jeff Buckley version but it isn't either of those.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The references for the first two verses are pretty obvious, but what are the next three about?"


There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


well... this verse is obviously about shagging.

- Fang

22/2/06 04:33  
Blogger Jon said...

Yes I realise that, but is it a reference to a well known (or perhaps not so well known) text?

And what about
"Maybe I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah"

Enquiring minds need to know.

25/2/06 11:19  
Blogger sdsdfds said...

The version in Lord of War is the Jeff Buckley version. They may have added some orchestral accompaniment but the singer and cadence of the song is definitely the Jeff Buckley version.

5/3/06 20:28  
Blogger sdsdfds said...

Sorry for the double post, but I just checked the credits on the DVD. Says it performed by Jeff Buckley with accompaniment by Sony BMG Music Entertainment. So, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a recording you can purchase that matches the rendition from the movie.

5/3/06 20:33  
Blogger Jon said...

Thanks Jeremy,

I'll have to see about finding a copy of that version. I got the 'Official Soundtrack' without paying attention to what it was; turned out to be just the original scores.

It is quite good though so I wasn't dissapointed with it, just wish they had added the version of hallelujah.

5/3/06 21:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quote should actually be attributed to Leonard Cohen. He wrote the lyrics. Here is a good history of versions of the song: http://www.allisoncrowe.com/press/04092101.html

23/3/06 20:03  
Blogger Jon said...

Corrected - Thanks!

24/3/06 09:29  
Blogger Vicky said...

I saw someone on my msn with lyrics from this song (not at that point knowing it was this song), googled them and this was one of the sites that came up. Firstly, thanks for being useful and letting me know which song it was I recognised the lyrics from. Secondly, this then caused me to go and find my dad's Leonard Cohen CD's and find a recording of the song. In doing so, I've noticed that the words he sings on this recording and the ones you have here are different!

The first and second verses are the same, but the rest don't exist. Instead he sings the following:

You say I took the Name in vain
I don't even know the Name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth. I didn't come to foll you.
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tounge but Hallelujah

I'm not sure where the other words that you have came from, but I do recognise them, so I assume they are either the Jeff Buckley version (which I may recognise) or the Shrek version (which I would definatly recognise). Admitedly, these 2 versions may be the same, I don't know.

I just thought you might like to know the original Leonard Cohen words, or at least the words he sings on the album Various Positions.

19/6/06 21:34  
Blogger Jon said...

Thanks Vicky,

Glad you found my blog useful!

I've heard the odd Leonard Cohen song played on the radio now and again but have never sat down and listened to a complete album.

Might have to try Various Positions one of these days.

22/6/06 16:47  
Anonymous limiteinfinito said...

this song... thank you...

1/12/06 00:20  
Anonymous Sjattuh said...

I think the song is about love and love alone. Not sexual intercourse, nothing more then just pure love in Jeff's own words. Describing feelings during the course of a relationship.

But most of all his struggle with the seperation and his fight to see if love is worth it all.

I'll tell you what I think of each verse.

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


I think David's tune is love. Ofcourse it would please the Lord and any man, King or citizen, would be baffled when trying to compose (ie manufacture) love.

The important line is 'You dont really care for music, do ya?'. He's basically stating a fact based on his relation with her that she doesn't care for love.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah


First part ofc he fell in love. 2nd part she is starting to hurt him.

She started to limet him. Tied him down, decides how he must live his life. And instead of loving her she made (drew it) him say it. Or that last Hallelujah can also, if we look at the 3rd verse, mean he finally seen the light and needs to leave her.

Maybe I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


The first part he tells her he knows this feeling and he doesn't fear it. He has been alone and if he has to be again he can be. But most of all he says that because he has been alone, and knows the feeling, the way their relation is now he gets that same feeling again.

The 2nd part is about her negativity. About her thinking love is a game and she won. (flag on arch). It's aint a victory march after all :)

And the last line is him expressing how he lost his faith in love.

There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


First part is how she is closing up to him. 'Below' , i think, means her inner toughts, her being, her soul. And she doesn't show it to him anymore, she closed up for/to him.

2nd part I think 'dark' should be 'dove'. But it's obviously about when they fell in love. How he 'moved' into her hearth and soul. How the air breathed when it does how you are when you just fall in love is a Hallelujah isnt it?

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


Here is his finaly statement how he has lost hope and faith in love. Maybe there is a god above - but he doesn't see Him anymore. And he turns to this God he doesn't see to show him the beauty of love, and faith in love, once again. At night he cries, a broken hallelujah.

The shoot somebody before part is about how he just seen pain in love. How people tend to make sure they hurt the other first before they can hurt you. The drama of using a gun just emphasises the total loss of faith he had in love.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

The beauty of the song, to me, is that since he is trying so hard to find something again, to discover something again, to relearn something there would only be one word suited to scream out once he manages to find it again.

22/6/09 01:44  
Blogger Family Group said...

There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


well... this verse is obviously about shagging.

- Fang

"To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure."
Let me give an alternative explanation:
There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below (This means God and David used to have a close relationship and God showed David that which was real and gave him revelations about what happened on Earth -that is below God)
But now you never show it to me, do you? (But God no longer shares that vision with David because David sinned against God)
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too (God and David were united and he moved into God and the Holy Spirit moved into David...they were linked and there was harmony and peace between God and a man)
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah (The Holy Spirit within David was there with him as he breathed and every breath he took he praised God and God was there singing with him)

19/11/09 19:03  
Blogger Family Group said...

Your faith was strong but you needed proof (You believed in God but you still tested him by this sin)
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you (He was overcome by this woman and sin)
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair (They made love, and this broke Davids throne because God punished David by dividing his house, the cutting of a Mans hair is a form of emasculation, like what Delilah did to Sampson, she weakened him)
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah (David was uttering Hallelujah or a form of it not at God but for this woman, that is he put her before God, he put his desire before God, his sin. He uttered the praise and worship that was for the Holy One for a mere mortal, for another...God is hurt)

19/11/09 19:09  

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