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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:27 am 
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DrPhill wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
Just listened to Leonard Cohen singing it - beautiful. :) Then I tried Jeff Buckley. Oh dear ... :o


I never did appreciate Jeff Buckley's voice/style. Plenty seem to though, so each to their own. Did you listen to the Pentatonix version? I think I like it as much as Leonard Cohens version(s).

Funnily enough, I listened to the Pentatonix version just the other week, so not all that long ago, but before you started this thread. Yes, I agree, it's great. I love their stuff - there's so much good composition in their versions of things, for a start, quite apart from the brilliant execution. I wouldn't go quite so far as to say I like it as much as Lenoard Cohen doing it - there's a simplicity and earthiness in Cohen's rendition(s) that is really beautiful.

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:03 pm 
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There's a track on Cohen's second last album (Popular Problems) in which he references Hallelujah (A song that before he died he conceded is "a good song, but over-recorded'). It's You Got Me Singing, a sweet song about the power of love to bring joy in hard times.

Hallelujah is over-recorded, Cohen says, so he writes a song about singing Hallujah. How meta.

I like to playlist it with Treaty: String Reprise, a string quartet arrangement of a song about finding peace at the end of a doomed affair. The song's from Cohen's last album (You Want It Darker), which is one of his best. In fact his last two records are well worth anyone's time and go particularly well together.

Quote:
You Got Me Singing
Leonard Cohen

You got me singing
Even tho’ the news is bad
You got me singing
The only song I ever had

You got me singing
Ever since the river died
You got me thinking
Of the places we could hide

You got me singing
Even though the world is gone
You got me thinking
I’d like to carry on

You got me singing
Even tho’ it all looks grim
You got me singing
The Hallelujah hymn

You got me singing
Like a prisoner in a jail
You got me singing
Like my pardon’s in the mail

You got me wishing
Our little love would last
You got…


Quote:
Treaty
Leonard Cohen

I've seen you change the water into wine
I've seen you change it back to water too
I sit at your table every night
I try but I just don’t get high with you

I wish there was a treaty we could sign
I do not care who takes this bloody hill
I’m angry and I’m tired all the time
I wish there was a treaty
I wish there was a treaty
Between your love and mine

They’re dancing in the street, it’s Jubilee
We sold ourselves for love but now we’re free
I’m sorry for the ghost I made you be
Only one of us was real and that was me

I haven’t said a word since you’ve been gone
That any liar couldn’t say as well
I just can’t believe the static coming on
You were my ground, my safe and sound
You were my aerial

The fields are crying out, it’s Jubilee
We sold…

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:40 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
Hallelujah (A song that before he died he conceded is "a good song, but over-recorded').

I have a hard time with "conceded". "Opined" I might accept. It's entirely possible, you know, that Cohen was simply being graciously humble in the face of the song's belated (and to Cohen, no doubt unexpected) success. But then I didn't know the man personally.

It's easy for me to imagine that it must have perplexed him that it took someone else to popularize a song that he poured such blood, sweat, and years into.

Peter Duggan wrote:
Nothing very 'secret' about that [Major third], though! It's just E leading to Am, which is the bog-standard way of modulating to the relative minor. It's nice, and adds some colour (hence why extra-scale notes like the G# in that E chord are called 'chromatic'), but not secret... unless he's maybe crediting David with its discovery thousands of years before it became commonplace (but still nice)?

I wouldn't go so far. I think the Major third is just a good device that stands all on its own. Maybe Cohen used it as a metaphor for the lyric, and it was good enough to leave for the rest of the song as well. Or maybe Cohen even simply back-forged that verse to fit an image to the progression as it already existed! For me, the "secret chord" is in the end just a story; it remains a secret ever more, and I prefer it that way.

Thanks to this thread, I've had a Hallelujah earworm the last few days. Hear it enough, and what was matchlessly sublime becomes suddenly dirt-common and unremarkable. I think what elevates the song is arrangement and delivery. You can have your angelic choruses, but for me simple is best: One human quietly wrestling all alone with the messy human condition, in the end to find nothing more for it but to brokenly sing "hallelujah", one-on-one, to the Holy of Holies that he sees confronting him so long as he lives. Since by his very name Cohen was of the priestly class (and keenly aware of it), this is entirely apt. Of course there are other layers and interpretations, too, and that's the genius of it. At this point I still don't have a favorite version, but a few come close.

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:45 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
At this point I still don't have a favorite version, but a few come close.

As long as it isn't Jeff Buckley, I'm good. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:48 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
At this point I still don't have a favorite version, but a few come close.

As long as it isn't Jeff Buckley, I'm good. :)

I love Buckley for so much else, but in this case I have to agree. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:56 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I have a hard time with "conceded". "Opined" I might accept. It's entirely possible, you know, that Cohen was simply being graciously humble...


Good point. Cohen was ever "graciously humble", which I think was partly his notion of being gentlemanly, and partly his buddhism. But I think in this case case he was sincere.

When contestants on reality TV talent shows, and soloists at half the celebrity funerals you hear about are all singing the song, it's in great danger of being over exposed, and I think Cohen was aware of that.

It sings like a hymn without being specific to any religion. In this era, that's a hell of a market niche to capture.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:01 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
At this point I still don't have a favorite version, but a few come close.

As long as it isn't Jeff Buckley, I'm good. :)

I love Buckley for so much else, but in this case I have to agree. :)

As a serious question, can you point me to anything that he's done that's actually any good and that I might appreciate? Or did he just turn soulful, meaningful stuff into mush?

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:29 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
When contestants on reality TV talent shows, and soloists at half the celebrity funerals you hear about are all singing the song, it's in great danger of being over exposed, and I think Cohen was aware of that.

Right. When I saw how much it's become a hobby-horse, I winced a little. But all the same, I don't think it's at real risk of becoming trivialized, at least in the right hands. It's almost become something on the order of "Silent Night": everyone does it, everyone loves it, and as such, performers are judged by what they bring to it.

s1m0n wrote:
It sings like a hymn without being specific to any religion. In this era, that's a hell of a market niche to capture.

Agreed. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I wouldn't go so far.

Well, neither would I, but it was you who suggested that chord as the secret chord...

Quote:
Or maybe Cohen even simply back-forged that verse to fit an image to the progression as it already existed!

Which I've also suggested.

Quote:
For me, the "secret chord" is in the end just a story; it remains a secret ever more, and I prefer it that way.

Yes, absolutely! It's just not there in the sense of either positive ID or anything unique to the song, so best left to the imagination.

So what 'goes like this' ('the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift')? The 'secret chord' or just 'music'? Hard to imagine that's all one chord, but in Cohen's mind? He's probably the only person who's fully understood the whole song... if even he did!

Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
As long as it isn't Jeff Buckley, I'm good. :)

I love Buckley for so much else, but in this case I have to agree. :)

I like Buckley's version too. And Rufus Wainwright's. And others. Not Katherine Jenkins, which I heard today... not because she doesn't sound 'nice', but because she just seems to miss the feel altogether (note 'do you' instead of the 'do ya' rhyme for 'Hallelujah'). I've used various versions for discussing voice types out of classical context at school because my students all know it and we've got Cohen as deep bass in C as well as (at least in their original/best-known versions) Wainwright and Buckley an octave higher in the same key but still different voice types (shall we say light baritone vs. tenor), and various female renditions my classes have pointed us at.

That said, the definitive version of any singer-songwriter song for me has to be the original, so no way Buckley's (or anyone else's) cover can be regarded as 'definitive' in the way some claim!

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Last edited by Peter Duggan on Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:41 pm 
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If we're talking Rufus Wainwright (LC's daughter Lorca's best friend, btw), his best LC cover is Chelsea Hotel. I find his cover of hallelujah a little callow.

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:47 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
I love Buckley for so much else, but in this case I have to agree. :)

As a serious question, can you point me to anything that he's done that's actually any good and that I might appreciate? Or did he just turn soulful, meaningful stuff into mush?

A matter of taste, I suppose. I'm not entirely sure of your question: Do you already dislike most of his stuff, then? Or are you simply unfamiliar?

One thing I like about Buckley is that to me he sounds evergreen. The first time I really heard anything of him was about maybe 7 years ago on the way to a gig (rather late to be exposed to him, but there you have it), and I was shocked to learn that he recorded in the 90s; I would have thought that what I heard had been done that very year. Here's something:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcaxrqhUJ4c

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:58 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
I wouldn't go so far.

Well, neither would I, but it was you who suggested that chord as the secret chord...

Only by way of a possible metaphor, and nothing more. I attached no firm conviction to the suggestion, but merely toyed with it.

peter Duggan wrote:
... (note 'do you' instead of the 'do ya' rhyme for 'Hallelujah').

One of my pet peeves. Cohen said "you" too - at least some of the time - and when I meet him at the Gig on High I plan to scold him for it. :wink:

Despite its quasi-reverential cladding and hymnlike aspect, I really don't think this song is appropriate for funerals.

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:04 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
One of my pet peeves. Cohen said "you" too - at least some of the time - and when I meet him at the Gig on High I plan to scold him for it. :wink:

Well, if he did (and you've just sent me checking the original), it was more 'yuh' than Jenkins' 'yoooo'. I wouldn't like a strong 'yah' either... the shortcomings of cod phonetics when we all pronounce them differently! :wink:

Edit: but I misread you? I thought you meant peeved at 'ya', but actually at 'you'? :-?

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:09 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
One of my pet peeves. Cohen said "you" too - at least some of the time - and when I meet him at the Gig on High I plan to scold him for it. :wink:

Well, if he did (and you've just sent me checking the original), it was more 'yuh' than Jenkins' 'yoooo'.

I came across the "you" in a live version of his. I confess I was disappointed, but I figured it was his baby to dress as he liked.

Peter Duggan wrote:
I wouldn't like a strong 'yah' either... the shortcomings of cod phonetics when we all pronounce them differently! :wink:

No, one must be refined and subtle about it. Not "yah", not "yoo", but the relaxed and lazy "yuh". If I were King of the World I would decree it. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Self reference
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Edit: but I misread you? I thought you meant peeved at 'ya', but actually at 'you'? :-?

Yes, peeved at "you".

Peter Duggan wrote:
... cod phonetics ...

What is this "cod"? Not part of my lexicon, unless fish now speak.

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