[midlife 150] #146: jeff buckley “hallelujah”

February 20, 2010

#146 Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (taken from Grace, 1994)

I almost feel an apology is in order for including this recording in a list. So mythologised it has become, so misappropriated by television and film, so omnipotent that it feels at best unoriginal, at worst thoughtless to (again) highlight it as one of the key musical moments of the last 40 years.

It is, of course, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s original (from 1984’s Various Positions) and, of course it transcends the original. The unfortunate thing is, there’s a temptation to believe it does so for the wrong reasons.

But even when you remove the added power it attracts through association with the tragedies in the Buckley family history, and despite its use as a blunt instrument to signify moments of deep, reflective melancholy in TV dramas such as The West Wing, Without A Trace and The O.C., it remains a most beautiful recording of a most beautiful song.

This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.


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