Monday, November 14, 2016

"Hallelujah" and thank you, Kate McKinnon and Leonard Cohen

I spent some time this weekend listening to various versions of "Hallelujah," starting with Leonard Cohen's original, which I'd never heard and turned out to be nothing like I expected, based on the other interpretations.

I'm not sure I'd ever heard any version of the song before k.d. lang covered it brilliantly on 2004's excellent Hymns of the 49th ParallelI'd always assumed it was an older song, perhaps from the '60s, and certainly not something from the mid-'80s. It's an interesting piece that doesn't fit neatly into any category and is a bit confounding on a first listen. I also listened to the popular Jeff Buckley rendition, a live version by John Cale and a knowing interpretation by Willie Nelson from 2006's Songbird

But, at this moment, there is no more perfect version than the transcendent performance by Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live, which provided an emotional post-election catharsis some of us had been avoiding but desperately needing.

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

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