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Hallelujah song by L. Cohen

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Indeed Hallelujah! and Happy birthday Lord and Master Jesus Christ!

Edited by 3bob

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"Interpreted by : Francis O'Brien


Many times Cohen says hallelujah in many different contexts;

this is the core of the song and will be explained at the end of the analysis.


For the first part:


Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


This relates to the story of King David who had an intimate relation with god and was also a great harp player (secret cord/pleased the lord). The hallelujah at the end of this verse is a happy and spiritual one.

Second part:
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah


In this part Cohen relates to the story of David and Bathsheba when David was walking on the roofs he saw her bathing and seduced her ending up committing adultery and lost a lot of influence and weakened his link with god (broken throne). Then we move to the story of Samson who gets his hair cut and loses all his powers, once again, a broken throne. In this verse, the hallelujah is a very sad and desperate one.


Third Part:
Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


In this part Cohen talks about the ambivalence of love and its effect on your faith. It can be glorious like a flag on a marble arch or it can be cold and broken. And when in heart break you may lose or strengthen your faith, in this case it is strengthened because he still praises the lord in the end. In this case, the hallelujah is (obviously) cold and broken.


Fourth Part:
There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


This is an obvious reference to sexuality and that even through an act as disgraceful as sex you can still praise the lord. In this verse the hallelujah can be interpreted as an “orgasmic” one.


Fifth Part:
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


This is a reference to one of the ten commandments and through this Cohen is trying to make the listener understand that religion and faith is not etched in stone and that every one should interpret the holy texts and religion in his own way and that there is no “Right Way” to believe. This is an uncertain hallelujah, meaning that he is not sure what to believe but he believes anyway.


Sixth Part:
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


In this part, he has found what to believe in and realizes his past errors but he is ready to face the lord because he now has complete faith. This hallelujah is one of total faith and love for “the lord”.


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 praise the lord mean the same and are all equal"

Edited by 3bob
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