Monday, November 14, 2016


Kate McKinnon performed this for her SNL cold opening in guise as Hillary Clinton, and she turned out a very nice performance, ending with "I'm not giving up, and neither should you." 

Not giving up at what, perverting foundations to personal gain, selling services government office for personal gain, corrupting government departments, political parties, and all media? Look, credit where it is due, tremendous talent there, Kate, impressive and admirable talent, but when it comes to politics, you're bat shit crazy. 

Turns out, there are a million renditions of this song, deeply loved by entertainers. The guy who wrote this song, Leonard Cohen, sings it so honestly, so purely, so cleanly that it gives you the chills. His voice is deep and he sings his own song slowly, here, and as a much older man with a deep old man's voice here.

There are too many great entertainers to mention who've covered this song to the top of their vocal abilities. It's just tremendous. What the heck, I'll go ahead and mention, from Amazon Prime, K.D. Lang, man, she's a fantastic singer, Pentatonix does very nicely using their voices as instruments, Jeff Buckley sings it pitched higher, Susan Boyle who sings everything very nicely, Allison Crowe, Peter Hollens, Brandi Carlile, Kelley Mooney, Lindsey Stirling. From YouTube, several X-factor contestants, a beautiful young girl sings it, Anna Clendening from America's Got Talent, Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, I love that guy's voice, he covers "Levon" better than Elton John sings it, he says it's one of those songs when hears it he wishes he wrote it. That gets me. 

And many many more covered Hallelujah. Everybody wants to sing this song. Justin Johnson, Jeff Gutt, Rufus WainWright for the film, Shrek, and on and on and on. 

Commenters to the above video over at YouTube say:

* Nearly fell off my chair when that guy with the teeth opened his mouth and sang.

* Play.  Play again.  Play again.  Nielsen slays it.

* Kurt slayed.

* If you have heard this song but not yet felt it, your time has come. It turns me into putty. And look at these guys, sitting as if in conversation. So easy. No belting out the song. Just delivering it so smoothly and easily, as it should be.

* Mama I miss you for ever.

* Whos the red head, his voice is out of this world?

     * kurt nilsen

Let's look. 

Here is Kurt Nilsen auditioning for Idol, with subtitles. It's just him standing in front of judges unaccompanied, very raw. 

Comments to this video are interesting as the video itself. 


Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I like that version very much. Puddles does a decent job with it, as does Pentatonix

McKinnon's Clinton bit took away from a decent version of Hallelujah. She should have just sung the song straight.

Chip Ahoy said...

Oh, I wish I had mentioned him. Thank you. I like his rendition very much. He has a way of making you forget that you're listening to a clown.

Commenters say they disapprove of the girls hooting and yelping, they say that it ruins it. But not for me. I don't mind it at all.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

They are all great versions, just a bit different.

Amartel said...

This song has been the national anthem for the insufferables ever since West Wing. With Cohen's passing I've heard it again, bits and pieces of it, and I still can't get with it. So much solemn intoning, but that's kind of Cohen's thing and I don't mind it in his other songs. Whatever. Sometimes a popular song just doesn't hit my ear the right way. It's fine.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I do not remember it on the West Wing. I remember it from Shrek.

But I totally understand Amartel. How a song works or not is very subjective to the listener.

Trooper York said...

The song is basically a fraud. A secular Jew using the images and themes he learned at Hebrew school.

A beautiful fraud.

Basically the definition of art.

Amartel said...

Exactly, it's a secular hymn. As such, it's internally contradictory and inauthentic. Coopting religious references to give reassurance to state-worshippers. I don't object to the cultural appropriation though. It's a free for all so far as I'm concerned. But I don't even like the way this song sounds. It sounds like hysteria to me but I'll allow that's just me.

ricpic said...

They're flooding the local airways with Cohen songs. One of them, supposedly one of his greatest is Everybody Knows. So I got up on Sunday morning for my usual fix of Country and Western that the local station plays every Sunday morning from 6 to 9 and I'm hit by "Everybody knows the fight was fixed, the poor stay poor the rich get rich," and I scream at the radio, "This everybody don't know that AT ALL!" Then I got back in bed till the blood pressure went back down. What a poison peddler that guy was.

AprilApple said...

SNL is a broken Hallelujah.

AprilApple said...

Amartel - not just you.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

It is a secular hymn. It is not a fraud because it is pretty up front and in your face about what it is about. Cohen wrote some good songs, couldn't sing a lick and was difficult to listen to. Lived a secular life screwing Scandis in Greece while drinking wine.

Pretty good result for a secular Jew from Quebec.

Trooper York said...

It is a fraud in the sense that Lena Dunham is a fraud. Or Amy Schumer. They profess to talk for a generation. But they don't. They certainly represent a slice of their generation. But most people are nothing like them and actively abhor their attitudes and sensibility. At best they represent 20% but claim 100$

That is why I say art is fraud.

AJ Lynch said...

I enjoy the song - helps to get me in the Christmas spirit [though per the comments, that may be a sacrilege heh].

Thanks Chip for posting.

Amartel said...

Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer profess to be entertaining but they're not.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Art is what you like. The art industry, however, is a mostly rigged racket.

Amy Schumer is a chubby girl with some comic talent (that one movie she made had its moments--she is not a complete hack like Lena Dunham who is ugly inside and out and talentless) but she is getting older and seems sort of unhappy. Too bad for her. Her uncle is a manipulative evil fuck nut, but in a weird way gave us Trump over Rubio.

How about them apples?

Amartel said...

If you want a secular Christmas hymn, try "Hey Santa Claus" by Kevin Bloody Wilson. I'd link it but I've probably pissed off enough people today.

MamaM said...

It sounds like hysteria to me but I'll allow that's just me.'

Dismal is how I experience it. Gloomy and without point, with a melody that pulls at the heartstrings.

ricpic said...

"Her uncle is a manipulative evil fuck nut, but in a weird way gave us Trump over Rubio."

It took me awhile to figure out how Chuck Schumer gave us Trump over Rubio, but finally the nickel dropped.

And no, I'm not going to drop hints. Figure it out fo yosef!

Trooper York said...

Amy Schumer is an icon of her generation.

A promiscuous loser who is childless and sad.

Her movie which I regret seeing is all about this.

Just like loser Lena.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Troop, that Amy Schumer film is a How Not To Guide to millenials, or rather, how to end up miserable and alone (except for some cats).

William said...

Melissa McCarthy is pretty good. Spy and Bridesmaids were very funny.. Of all the fat women comedians, she's my favorite........Leonard Cohen was no dilettante. He lived the spare, bleak life of a Buddhist monk for a lengthy period of time. He wrote spirituals for non-believers. He was definitely looking for God or, rather, faith in God. He doesn't sing Hallejuah the way Handel does. It's not a joyful noise before the Lord, but it does celebrate his wish to find faith. He prays to an absent God, but it's a prayer nonetheless .....We used to think that reason and intellect were our most divine faculties, but that's changed in recent times. . The way, parodoxically, to transcend our base nature is by fucking. Apparently you're closest to God when making love as opposed to, say, solving Fermat's theorem in a novel and elegant way. There's something to be said for this way of seeking the godhead.

Sixty Grit said...

I had no idea Cohen was still alive. I think I heard a song of his back in the 1960's, but noting in the intervening half century. I didn't have to go out of my way to avoid him - he just never showed up where I was. He didn't make the kind of music I listen to, unlike Scarlatti or Ditters von Dittersdorf.

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