Sometimes a song crawls into my mind and stays there. It seems to be telling me something. Usually it evokes a lesson to be learned or an emotion I’ve buried and need to explore. Sometimes a song gives me permission to feel and think and believe. Occasionally a song gives me validation. Three weeks ago, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” entered my brain and wouldn’t leave. It has since invaded my soul. I sing it all day. I hear it in my sleep. I feel it in my toes. When I hear it, my body feels compelled to move in fluid motion, almost as if in interpretive dance. I’ve coil and reel and swoop and sway and bend and reach and invert deeply, as though being moved by unseen hands, when this song plays.
A little note or two about “Hallelujah”:
I grew up a preacher’s daughter and, thus, have long held a huge resentment, distrust, and almost disgust for organized religion. For years, the only thing “God” was to me was the word before “Dammit.” I still feel the same about organized religion (just my opinion, no judgment here on yours,) but “God” means a lot to me now. I’m very spiritual and believe strongly in a higher power. I also believe that said higher power can change and that’s just awesome for me. SO, when I occasionally play songs that involve the word “God” or “Hallelujah” or “Praise” or whatever, please understand it is absolutely positively not a Christian or other religious reference.
“Hallelujah” has been covered countless times by countless artists. There are so many different versions out there that surely anyone can find one that speaks to them. The version in this playlist is Jeff Buckley’s and it’s brilliant. My favorite, however, is Leonard Cohen’s own version, especially the Live recording from London. Buckley comes in second, followed by Rufus Wainright’s version. That said, there is a new version that is moving up in my mind. Recently Justin Timberlake performed “Hallelujah” for the “Hope For Haiti Now” concert with Charlie Sexton. It is a beautiful, haunting, fitting version. It is available for purchase on iTunes with the profits going to help Haiti. I suggest you buy that version as well as any of the others. Help out, eh?