4: Song excerpts from covers of “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, Pentatonix, and Regina Spektor.
The song “Hallelujah” has been covered so many times, some people forget that it was originally written by Leonard Cohen. Cohen himself thought the song was overused and, in a 2009 interview, said that he thought too many people sing it.
Suggested Activity: Listen to the excerpts as a class. Compare each singer’s tone and interpretation. Is it loving? Angry? Forgiving? Sad? Does a particular version strike you as more or less religious? More or less Jewish? Why? How would you describe the tone of Cohen's original recording compared to each of these covers? What do the covers add or take away from the original?
Sources: Buckley, Jeff. Grace. Columbia Records. 1994.
Pentatonix. “A Pentatonix Christmas.” RCA Records, 2016.
Spektor, Regina. “Regina Spektor - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover 2005) indie pop anti folk.” YouTube video, 5:32. Posted March 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sra2OGlbsHQ.