My Hallelujah parody is out today! (Everywhere but Spotify for some reason. I’m working on that.)
Listen on your preferred service at https://link.roadsideattraction.com/hallelujah
But why would I write a parody? I never done one before. So why this song?
There’s a book by Alan Light called “The Holy Or The Broken” (Amazon link) all about the history of the song Hallelujah from Leonard Cohen to Jeff Buckley to the song’s place in pop culture as an oft-misunderstood American standard.
At the end of the book the author says “But I’ve never heard a really good parody of it.” Something that went beyond just changing the words but actually makes fun of the song itself.
“Challenge accepted,” said I. And then set out to use the song’s own lyrics against it to make fun of it’s overuse in pop culture.
At times when I’ve played this song people have gotten on my case for defiling a “sacred” piece of music. And yes, those are usually white Christian people who assume this is a Christian song because it uses religious imagery.
However just a little bit of thinking will tell you that Leonard COHEN was probably not Christian. He was Jewish in fact. And this isn’t a sacred religious song. It’s a song about sexual obsession in which he uses religious imagery to portray the depth and intensity of those feelings. Those super religious people, ironically, should find this song to be sacrilegious.
But that shows you the power of a well-hewn chord progression and a strong melody. It is an absolutely brilliant song. The original Leonard Cohen version isn’t the vocal showcase that we expect it to be now. Because it’s Leonard Cohen.
I based mine on Jeff Buckley’s spectacular version which is the what more people are familiar with. The guitar playing on this track is beyond beautiful. So intricate and tightly entwined with the vocal. Except he uses a capo. Capos are cheating and I stand by that. 😉
For my version, I didn’t copy Jeff Buckley’s guitar parts. Instead I played through a transcription of his a few times and used similar ideas but with my own style applied to them. So it’s definitely my interpretation of that style without being the same. And I didn’t do the extended introduction because “Get to the jokes, Funny Boy,” right?
Here’s Jeff Buckley’s version. Seriously, listen to the guitar parts.
I did leave out an extra verse that I’d written because the song was already hitting the 4 minute range and I didn’t want to add a bunch of extra time on.
But here for your reading pleasure is that extra verse.
We’ve definitely been here before
With an ogre pacing on his floor
And school kids leaving out words that arouse ya
I’ve seen your Idols singing grand
But mostly though they’re pretty bland
It’s a limp and it’s a flaccid Hallelujah
Sock it to ya
Ha ha fooo oooled ya
But what about that Rufus Wainwright version from Shrek? That gets a big ‘ol “Meh” from me. It sounds like he phoned in the performance. Nothing intriguing about the piano part. It’s a little too fast. It sounds like a very average cover of the song that he got a paycheck for. And now that he’s kind of known for it I imagine he puts a little more into the performances of it. But his original track doesn’t do anything for me.
So I hope you enjoy my version of it with some lighthearted skewering of it’s place in pop culture.
And no, Alan Light never responded when I sent it to him. So there ya go.