This song. I was trying to figure out why I like it so much. It's because it speaks the truth about humanity with such a clear, personal perspective. Communication in this way is beautiful. I'm jealous of it. The poem, written by Leonard Cohem, sung here by Jeffrey Buckley, is about a man pouring out his heartache and confusion over a fallen relationship with a woman.
Listen to this song.
I looked up people's various interpretations of the Hallelujah poem. An anonymous writer shared:
The song revolves around the word Hallelujah, which is a Hebrew word which means praise Yah/Jah or the Lord. And through the song, he says that all Hallelujahs are of equal value no matter the circumstance or the cause of the act. Weather it is in complete blissful faith or is from broken desperation, all ways and goals to prise the lord mean the same and are all equal. http://www.lyricinterpretations.com/Leonard-Cohen/Hallelujah
There were two more vital parts in Cohem's poem that Buckley didn't sing:
You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah[Chorus]I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
As listeners, we experience the various meanings of the hallelujahs as the song progresses. I'll steal from the thoughts of the same anonymous writer mentioned above, who explained the hallelujahs as spiritual, like David's "secret cord that pleased the lord", sad and desperate, "cold and broken," orgasmic, uncertain, and finally, worship.
This is what I want in my writing. It's ugly, uncertain, compelling. It's the pursuit of fulfillment in human, often erotic ways, followed by utter loneliness and abandonment, the doubt and uncertainty of a greater Love, and finally, confession and faith. It's the redemption story. The best part is you would never know unless you were really searching between the lines. Cohem shows instead of tells his redemption. There's a big difference.