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Subject: "Hallelujah" -- Cohen, Wainwright, Buckley, Cale or ???? rss

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Ruiner of Things
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I loved the song "Hallelujah" from the original Shrek movie. In fact, when I think of that movie, I often think of that song.

As Shrek 3 approached opening day, I found myself thinking of the song again. And when I heard it on a rerun of Scrubs, I decided to finally learn a little bit more about it.

I was surprised to learn how many versions of it there are -- dozens, in fact. John Cale performs it in the movie, while Rufus Wainwright's version is on the soundtrack CD. Leonard Cohen wrote it. The late Jeff Buckley does a version that many people are fond of. Allison Crowe and K.D. Lang are among the other artists who have covered it.

Anyone else a fan of this song? What is your favorite version?

I prefer this one by Rufus Wainwright:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMrZ7lChK-g

To me, Wainwright feels this song the way I do. It sounds right with just piano, and it needs a strong voice and simple arrangement.

I don't like Cohen's voice, and I think the choir on the chorus robs the song of the intimacy it should project.

I don't like the way Buckley sings it, and his voice sounds weak to me, at least on this song. And it just sounds wrong on guitar, especially with the odd and unappealing intro.

Allison Crowe sings it like a crossover pop/country song, which is totally the wrong vibe for this piece.

I haven't found a free internet download of John Cale's studio version, although I listened to a live version that frankly didn't sound very good.

Other versions, other thoughts, anyone? Yes, I'm bored.
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Absolutely Wainwright.

I'm always shocked when someone picks a different version, and I always wondered what daft fool kept Rufus' version out of the movie.
 
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Daniel Danzer
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After the experience of John Cale 1994 in front of a thousand punks, weirdos, gothics and other strange folk in Berlin performing "Hallelujah" at the end of his show (with string quartet, steel guitar, percussion and piano and, of course, extra viola for "Venus in Furs") and all the audience singing and shouting along - I prefer this special one!
 
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Matthew Frederick
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Wainwright's was the version I heard first (though pre-Shrek), and I probably like it best as a result. I really love Cohen's voice, though, so am torn. I'm not sure what the big deal about Buckley is, I was only able to make it half-way through two different versions.

One thing really bugs me about Wainwright's version, though: he says "you" when he should say "ya," because that's how the lines rhyme with hallelujah, as in "do ya, knew ya, overthrew ya, to ya, fool ya." Wainwright sings "do you, knew you, overthrew you, to you, fool you," and it's really messed up. Crowe does the same thing, but she also alternates "hall-lee-loo-yah" and "hall-ley-loo-yah" randomly, which is also annoying.


Ah well. Awesome song, truly.
 
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Kunnagh Scott
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Beautiful song - I'm a fan of the Cale version myself, although the Wainwright version is also very good. I like the fact that it has about 15 verses, and people choose different ones to cover...

There's a list here of dounloadable versions of the song, including Bono's somewhat odd (to my ears) take on it

cool
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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I like this song, too. I prefer the Cale version. Wainright's voice just seems too polished, though it's certainly not bad. The other versions--eh. I *do* love the lyric interchangeability.

On an unrelated note, is there a reason Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" isn't our national anthem? This requires a national dialog.
 
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Mark Mahaffey
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Imogen Heap has a nice a capella version.
 
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Kunnagh Scott
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Browsing through what appear to be infinite versions of this song, there's a beautiful rendition from a singer who hails from my home town!

She's called Daisy Chapman (and no, I don't know her!) and the version can be found on her myspace: http://www.myspace.com/daisychapman

Again, just the piano and the voice seems to hit the spot...
 
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Daniel Karp
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I love Rufus Wainwright, but I haven't heard his version of the song.

Of the versions I've heard, I prefer the Leonard Cohen version, but the one from his album "Live in Concert" rather than the studio version.

As an aside, I think Rufus Wainwright's version of "Across the Universe" beats the Beatles version of their own song.

 
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Kevin Wood
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kunnagh wrote:

Browsing through what appear to be infinite versions of this song, there's a beautiful rendition from a singer who hails from my home town!

She's called Daisy Chapman (and no, I don't know her!) and the version can be found on her myspace: http://www.myspace.com/daisychapman

Again, just the piano and the voice seems to hit the spot...


Thanks for the heads-up on this. It is a beautiful version of the song.
 
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