Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rufus Wainwright - Hallelujah


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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe I've 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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you,
The Holy Dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you;
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Anyone who’s familiar with me knows how fascinated I am with anything weird, bizarre, complicated, and non-mainstream. I love this song. It’s so incredibly unusual and out of the ordinary.

Look at the odd mixture of thematic overtones… it’s religious, sexual, existential, and romantic… the qualities of a truly dynamic and vibrant relationship, yet the lyrics and melody imply of something more sympathetic, sorrowful, depressing, and even tragic.

First off, I’d like to give credit to Leonard Cohen as he is the songwriter who originally wrote and performed this song back in 1984. I chose to use a version performed by Rufus Wainwright because I love his voice, especially with this song! Some people may even recognize this particular version from the first Shrek movie.

Anyway, back to the song… the lyrics are pure genius. The religious references are classic… David playing the harp for King Saul, David’s affair with Bathsheba after watching her bath from his rooftop, the loss of Samson’s strength when Delilah cut his hair, etc…

Take the word “hallelujah” itself. The dictionary describes the word as an interjection, a command, to praise the Lord. Obviously, most people praise the Lord in times of joy, happiness, and jubilee… however, this song sings hallelujah anytime… all the time… perhaps the way it should be sang! Sometimes it is composed in times of joy, and others in times of despair and brokeness.

The melody’s chord progression even follows the lyrics right at the beginning referencing the "secret chord": "It goes like this (major first chord), the fourth (major fourth chord), the fifth (major fifth chord), the minor fall (minor sixth chord) and the major lift (major fourth chord)". I wonder if my amazing music major boyfriend Jimmy will be impressed with that! Hehe! The song is simply brilliant!

It’s seems as if this song has played at each of the darkest times in my life, either simply in my mind or I’d actually heard it that day. So when I listen to it now, it serves as a vivid reminder as to the darkest places my heart has resided, while at the same time serving as a constant reminder that the while I may get lost there at times, the Lord always resides there too within me and in those who love me, ready to help me face whatever turmoil lies ahead.

That being said, I had a great weekend at the Bobcat Awakening retreat for those who are curious. I highly recommend it to anyone. I promise you’ll have a magnificent time… and this is coming from someone who was literally dragged there against his will! I’d love to tell you all things that make this retreat amazing, but alas everyone who attends it is sworn to secrecy on the happenings of the weekend.

Everyone probably gets something slightly different out of the retreat… some renew their faith, some open up for the first time, etc… For me, I learned to trust people more, as that has always been an ongoing issue for me, and probably will be for awhile… but this retreat certainly helped me on a path to helping me work through this. I was also reminded of all the people who love and care for me… so for those of you who made this possible (you know who you are), I love you all SOOOOO much! I would be nothing without all of you!

Anyway, I’m moved into my new apartment; however, I’m not anywhere close to being complete with the unpacking. I’ve got the computer and the tv up and running… so I’ve the essentials working thus far.