Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hallelujah: A triptych

I was Skyping with my mom and sending her some music when she asked me about that song from the episode of The West Wing where CJ's Secret Service manfriend gets shot.

Instantly, I knew: "Hallelujah." The Jeff Buckley version. The one that makes everyone cry.

Rather than simply send her that version, I sent her all three: Buckley's tear jerker, Rufus Wainwright's relatively upbeat and melodic version and the original, off-key version by Leonard Cohen.

Each version holds a special place in my musical memory. The versions are all so different, but the beauty of the lyrics persists. It's a testament to the power original song that it holds up so well under interpretation – and there have been many. I figured I would put my favorite three up here and let you, the ever gentle reader, decide which speaks to you the most.


(On another note: I need to see Rufus in concert. Can't believe I haven't yet)

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