Thursday, December 18, 2008


Apparently there's a big fuss going on over the release of X-Factor winner, Alexandra Burke's rendition of Leonard Cohen's song 'Hallelujah'.

This happens to be one of my favourite songs of all time, me and several million others, especially Jeff Buckley fans, I suppose.

The song is one of those that needs no frills - the epitome of less is more. Essentially it's melancholic and regretful and giving it the Mariah Carey big voice treatment is like adding chocolate sauce to cheese fondu. This is what Alexandra has done, or is it Simon Cowell made her do it? Anyway, she has a lovely voice and really doesn't need the frippery of extra singers and a full-sized orchestra. Not for this song anyway.

As a special Christmas treat, here are a few versions of this beautiful song. Note the rendition of JLS and how sweet it is BEFORE the choir start joining in. Marvin and the boys don't need the frippery either.

Jeff Buckley fans reckon he gave the ultimate performance despite his youth. The official version is here, but if you want a more live rendition, you can see one here:

If you saw the film Shrek, you'll remember Rufus Wainwright's cover:

The man himself, here's Leonard's version, live:

From a craggy old git to sweet young men, JLS:

John Cale has a great voice and sings the song with just a piano accompaniment. It's all it needs:

Ok, so that's some of the guys, here come the girls, starting with KD Lang (who's a good transition...):

Sheryl Crow on guitar, a bit fast for my taste, but she has a great voice:

And Kate Voegele studio version:

I think the best versions come from the older singers who know what the hell they're singing. Alexandra Burke, who sings it here apparently admitted that she didn't know what on earth it was about, so while she gives an enthusiastic performance, it's empty of feeling. For some things you just have to have experience of life - adversity, loss, frustration, and love. If you've ever been in love and experienced a gradual eroding of the relationship, this song is for you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for beautiful nostalgia...and I prefer the "simple" ones too.


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