Saturday, December 13, 2008

Alexandra Burke wins X-Factor: So, if this is going to be the Christmas number one, what do you do with it...

Probably, sing along the Hallelujah's with Alexandra Burke (ours is an X-factor house). It's interesting though to think that this Christmas people will have this Bible language and story going through their heads without any real sense of their meaning. How would you go about unpicking and explaining what's going on?
i heard there was a secret chord
that david played and it pleased the lord
but you don't really care for music, do you
well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
the minor fall and the major lift
the baffled king composing hallelujah


well 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 her kitchen chair
she broke your throne and she cut your hair
and from your lips she drew the hallelujah


well, maybe there's a god above
but all i've ever learned from love
was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
it's not a cry that you hear at night
it's not somebody who's seen the light
it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Order Hallelujah from Amazon if you want to


  1. I just ordered my copy of the CD single from:

    She was great and deserved it!

  2. V.strong performance - better than JLS, even if she did look a bit like a manic pentecostal preacher at some points.

  3. X factor.. ugh. But nice new layout!

  4. Thanks Larry. I figured the page was getting too long and then I discovered (from google analytics) that over 90% of those viewing the page were running at least 1000px wide so I guess it's a case of if you've got the space use it...

  5. If i knew how to I would do something similar!

  6. It's actually not that difficult. I'll teach you if you want.

  7. As for the lyrics - there's not some special chord that David played, and "baffled" isn't a way I would describe David if that was the case. Then there's this whole losing faith from temptation and adultery, it's clear that while David and Bathsheba are alluded to (as are Samson and Delilah) it's not them, but the songwriter, who's let down by love, let down by adultery (as everything collapsed). He's shut out, from the woman (verse 4), from God (verse 5) and all he can do is give a cold and broken hallelujah.

    Jeff Buckley gets the temperament of the song far better - a quiet lament, cold and broken. JLS had it as a cheery Christmas number and Alexandra had it as a grand showing off of her fantastic voice, turning it into a power ballad type thing. Neither X Factor finalist got the mood of the song right.

  8. I thought the special chord was the E that's in all good worship songs.

    A Bittersweet Christmas.

  9. and also, what i like about the lyrics is that they imply that UNBELIEF is the root cause of sin. and i'm sure that was true of David... he was faithless when he chose to believe Bathsheba would grant him greater satisfaction than obedience (even if he didn't think it through logically- which we tend not to.)

    i also like the idea that Bathsheba drew a "halleljah" from David because there is a sense in which she became the object of his worship over and above God when he chose sin.

    so of course he's disillusioned about love- idols- can't satisfy. all idolatory can bring from our lips is a cold and broken halleljah...broken cisterns etc.

    a big need for de-jargonifying these thoughts, obvs... and not sure how faithful they are to the author's meaning!

  10. Phil - take a shot at dejargonising it here or on your blog... you get the impression that Cohen doesn't know what it's about so you probably have some freedom to try and unpick it.

  11. God has pinned down an unbelieving and rebellious generation with some discipline in the form of a financial slap in the face, and drawn out a Hallelujah. It's almost Habakkuk - no food in the fields and no fruit on the vines, yet I will Praise Him. Hallelujah.

  12. Nice one Phil.

    Andrew, it's a kind of Habakkukian situation... some sort of broken Hallelujah if not a humble one yet.