Sunday, May 20, 2007

2nd Hallelujah

I'm really interested in this song as its passed from performer to performer. I don't know music in the sense that I could compare what key this or that performer does it in, etc. I just have my naive perceptions.

This song has been covered about 1,000,000 times. As far as I've been able to tell so far, it was John Cale's cover on the tribute album, I'm Your Fan, that was the first influential non-Cohen interpretation. I haven't heard the track from that album, but there are several live performances on YouTube:

Powerful stuff. Among the many versions, I think I'm discerning two major branches of interpretation. One branch seems to descend from Cale's version. The other branch, from Jeff Buckley's.

The same song, but different. This is a song where you can really go for the glory, go for big, soar. That's Cale's branch. Buckley does something different. His interpretation is subtler, more ambiguous. It's supported by the lyrics, this interpretation. You can sense more that is "broken" in Buckley's. In its way, just as powerful as soaring.

In the next post, I'll further explore one of these two proposed branches.


shadowfax said...

Interesting that you should post this now. I recently got turned on to this song myself. I will send you a copy of the Cale verson. Beautiful and evocative song.

Josh Gentry said...

That's be great, Shadowfax.

Now, if there's anyone I know who could send me Buckley's version from "Grace."

Anna said...

Hmm...I wonder who could do that?

Josh Gentry said...


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