I have the opinion that http://holysoulshermitage.com boasts of some of the most incisive readers/commenters on the internet. I have a little project that needs some feedback, some tweaking of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Just before Christmas of 2010, when I was teaching at the Pontifical College Josephinum, I was invited by the seminarians to be one of the presenters for the popular culture night they put on, the idea of the event being to analyze a villainous point of culture. Surprising many, I chose to critique Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, which is nearly the all-time all-time most popular song ever. Just the very first page of YouTube alone counts up hundreds of millions of hits.
The version I played for the seminarians is sung by Kurt Nilsen, Espen Lind, Askil Holm and Alejandro Fuentes. Another version was used in Shrek. It’s been an ultra favorite of the popular talent shows such as American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, and dozens of television and stage and radio productions.
Here are the highly poetic words, extremely condensed statements which were continuously rewritten, Leonard Cohen says of himself, in great anxiety and agony. You really have to stare at each word for quite a while:
1. I heard there was a secret cord that David played and it pleased the Lord. But you don’t care for music do ya? Well, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift. The baffled king composing, “Hallelujah!” Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
2. Your faith was strong but you needed proof. You saw her bathing on the roof. Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya. Well, she tied you to a kitchen chair. She broke your throne and she cut your hair. And from your lips she drew the “Hallelujah!” Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
3. Well, maybe there’s a God above. But all I’ve ever learned from love is how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya. It’s not a cry that you hear at night. It’s not somebody whose seen the light. It’s a cold and it’s a broken “Hallelujah!” Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
My analysis in part depended on an article by my friend, Father Louis V. Iasiello, O.F.M., retired Two Star Admiral, one time Head Chaplain for the entire Department of Defense, and now laboring in the Lord’s vineyard by helping out with the formation of the seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Here’s the *.pdf of the article of Father Louis V. Iasiello, O.F.M. on “Betrayal of Trust - David and Bathsheba Revisited” at the New Theology Review, 2008.2. (Betrayal of Trust– David and Bathsheba Revisited – PDF).
Anyway, here’s the video critique of these verses of Leonard Cohen’s song that I created myself. You might have to watch it a couple of times to get all the nuances. The “text” voices of the characters aren’t always as clear as I would have liked them to be. You might have to adjust the volume a bit.
So, given that, I wonder if it would be helpful to tweak the words just a bit, just one or two, here and there, to readjust the theology to be a bit more in line with what is actually found in the books of Judges and Samuel. I have a rather mighty project in mind with a number of super-talented people. Heh heh heh.
Any no-secret-cords-attached suggestions to offer? Think about it. You can do it.