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“I heard there was a secret chord . . . “

So, a few months ago Steve came across the song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. He found it while surfing songs on YouTube. (We do that a lot. Especially searching out 70’s and 80’s songs that we remember so fondly and remarkably remember all of the words to. We don’t have television, so it’s our MTV or VH1, or whatever other music channels are on cable and satellite now.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. “Hallelujah.” I’m absolutely mesmerized by this song. (Although, can you be mesmerized by something you listen to but don’t see? Technically, probably not. But still. You get what I mean.) And you would not believe the plethora of people who have sung it on YouTube: Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen (he wrote it), Allison Crowe, Rufus Wainwright (his was the version in Shrek) . . . just to name a few. (Links to the videos.) It’s really quite impressive. There is obviously something about this song.

My favorite? K.D. Lang. No contest. There are several videos of her, and each time she sings it slightly differently. I can’t pick between them because each one is stellar. She can SING. Here, see what I mean:

See? Do you have chills? I do. And I’ve watched/listened to her at least ninety-seven times now. Okay, now go back and listen to it again. And then one more time. And then maybe just a few more.

This song. I’m telling you, this SONG. It kills me in places. I love the melodic line that first appears near the beginning with the words “Well, it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift. A baffled king composing ‘hallelujah.'” and then is repeated each verse. Oh, it’s just so gorgeous.

But the words that get me, that really rip out my heart are later in the song, at about the 3:30 mark: “All I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.” How heartbreaking is that line? I know, I know. Me, too.

Oh, Leonard. The way you write. I was in your hands at the opening chords. This song. Oh, this SONG. I could write a book based on this song. Heck, I could write several books based on this song. (Maybe I will.) I do find inspiration in songs. I find stories, plots, characters in them. The more I listen to a particular song, the more the story or character reveals itself. Oh, you songwriters are a marvel that you can fit so much into 3-6 minutes. Something that takes me 300 pages to do.

Do you have songs like this? Songs that just suck out your heart and soul (in a good way, of course)? That you find so much in the words and the melodies?

3 thoughts on ““I heard there was a secret chord . . . “

  1. Bethany

    Just did a post about favorite songs, and somehow forgot about this one. Gives me chills every time! Yes it's rather magical.