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Shocking Hidden Meaning In Lyrics of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen Revealed

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Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah Lyrics Meaning

Hallelujah is a masterpiece compiled out from more than 80 other verses. The lyrics of the original version of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen have been interpreted in multiple ways. According to Genius Lyrics, some interpretations show that Cohen is in an argument with God. However, some interpretations say the song is about a love relationship that talks about dark rituals, sex, and religion through the metaphors.

Introduction

The song Hallelujah wasn’t that popular when Leonard Cohen released it for the first time. In 1991, John Cale created a cover version of Hallelujah by modifying those original lyrics by Leonard Cohen. In 1994, Jeff Buckley did his own cover of the song by taking inspiration from John Cale. All the thanks to Jeff Buckley, the song got the attention it truly deserved. Now, Hallelujah has been covered over 300 times.

Let’s look at the hidden meanings behind the lyrics of the song Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.

[Verse 1]

Part I

In the Book of Samuel, the evil spirit leaves Saul when David plays the harp. As such, David has written and played many things that “pleased the lord”. Since his music could please the Lord, Cohen believes that David will be able to please his love if he can write the right song. But then the speaker realizes that his love doesn’t care for music, and therefore he assumes she would perhaps not be sold by his efforts.

Part II

For a piece of happy music, the chord progression starts from the fourth to the fifth, which follows the minor fall and major lift schema. The word Hallelujah is composed of the words “Hallelu” which means Praise and “Jah” which is the short form of God’s name. The speaker says the king David is baffling because Hallelujah came to him unexpectedly.

[Chorus]

[Verse 2]

Part I

In the second verse of the lyrics of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, the song has pursued a dark undertone. It feels like listening to another song that’s tussling with religion under the cloak of a relationship song. In the sense of a relationship song, the verse talks about infidelity, insecurity and intensely sexual relationship.

Part II

One day the king David wakes up in the morning and walks out onto his roof. He sees Bathsheba, a beautiful wife of Uriah. Her beauty overtook the temptation of the king. David sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant. The sexual practice includes tying up the king to a kitchen chair. She drew Hallelujah from the lips of King David in such moments of passion.

[Chorus]

[Verse 3]

Part I

The speaker says this is not the first time that he is breaking down. He knows how is he triggered and he is aware of what happens when his emotions get triggered. Since the speaker was used to living alone before he met his love, he knows how to deal with his emotions as well.

Part II

People think falling in love is enough for a healthy relationship. But in reality, falling in love is only a starting point of a relationship. To maintain the same relationship, in the long run, is more than celebrating the victory of finding someone you love. In reality, love is cold and heartbreaking if you do not know how to maintain it.

[Chorus]

[Verse 4]

Part I

The lyrics in the fourth verse of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen is utterly depressing. It talks about the lack of intimacy in a relationship. The speaker recalls the time when he and his love used to make love. But now he has no intimate access to his lover.

Part II

The speaker reminds his love of a fact that when they met each other, they had both physical and emotional attachments. The phrase “moved in you” refers to the physical motion of sexual intercourse. And every time they had fun they used to finish it off with joy of exclaiming “Hallelujah”.

[Chorus]

[Verse 5]

Part I

Leonard Cohen is afraid of people calling him out for taking the name of God in vain. But he disagrees. He says he doesn’t even know the name of God. The “you” at the end of “what’s it to you” is pronounced as “yah” or “Jah”, another name for God. Cohen is trying to say even if he did actually know the name of God, will God even care?

Part II

In his lyrics, Cohen has said every word used are valuable and important. He highlights the power of the words we use in our daily lives. The “holy hallelujah” refers to the unforced exclamation of joy that’s divine in its pure form. The “broken hallelujah” refers to reaching the divine through sex, struggle, and despair.

[Chorus]

[Verse 6]

Part I

Leonard Cohen is clearly influenced by the Bible and he values his religious traditions. However, his personal life has been so traumatizing that he starts questioning the existence of God by his music. Cohen says he has been hurt every time he has been in love. All he has ever learned from love is how to hurt someone who hurt him by breaking his heart.

Part II

In the second part of the sixth verse, Cohen says, these lines are not about him breaking down over a failed relationship. The singer is just like everyone else. He has emotions just like everyone else and hasn’t seen the light of ultimate happiness just like everyone else. Loving someone and screaming “hallelujah” usually turn out to be cold and broken.

[Chorus]

[Verse 7]

Part I

In the seventh verse of the lyrics of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, the song has pursued an introspective undertone. Cohen says he did his best even though he always knew he could do more in a better way. He was so broken that his only goal was to find someone that he can touch or have sex with. The singer breaks down and says he has been telling the truth the whole time. He has been loving her and he didn’t come into her life to fool her.

Part II

However, his confessions couldn’t touch the heart of his love and everything went wrong. Now, he is all alone and the only companion in his life is the Lord of the song “Hallelujah”. But he will not spend his last hours in despair and sadness. Instead, he will exclaim “Hallelujah” on top of his lungs and live his remaining life by loving himself and only himself.

[Chorus]

Click here to play Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen on YouTube

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