A classic song, and favourite of mine. Originally written by Leonard Coen in 1984, it was made famous by Jeff Buckley who did a cover ten year later for his album “Grace”. Buckley’s version of the song is powerful and moving, and stands out as arguably the most honest of his songs (even though it is a cover). This song is a great example of how an artist can change the nature of a song without really changing the lyrics. Leonard Cohen’s original recording is much more upbeat song by comparison, whereas Buckley’s is much more melancholic.
Despite popular (Christian) assumption, it’s not really about God – at least not in the way people think it is. My personal interpretation is that it’s a song about love, or the abscence of it, that leaves a wake of emptiness and nostalgia. The word “hallelujah” here is used as a metaphor for orgasm, although it’s not really about sex. It’s about a man who found love that fulfilled him for a while, but for whatever reason over the years that followed, it seemed to wither and eventually disolve. The song therefore, is a lament, really. It’s tragic that Buckley himself died alone.