These are songs that have become more than just songs. Songs that speak words of hope, that uplift, or speak into a curious spiritual longing that most of us never knew we had. At weddings, often people choose the song, Jerusalem which speaks into a nationalistic longing. I suppose some national anthms can fit into the same category.
Ruth Glehill has written an interesting peice on Lenard Cohen’s Hallelujah, a song that has biblical undertones but mostly speaks of an ambiguous longing. This song was sung by Alexandra, the new X-factor winner, in front of millions of viewers on saturday night.
Come to think of it, last years X-Factor winner, Leon, won with a song “There can be miracles“, a song taken from the animated movie, Prince of Egypt, about the Bible story of God saving his people from slavery in Egypt.
Here’s what Ruth Gledhill says about Hallelujah.
Nearly a quarter of a century on it has evolved into that contradictory hybrid of secular hymn.
This puts it in a tradition that runs, at random, from Blake/Parry’s Jerusalem, through Sir Arthur Sullivan’s The Lost Chord, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s You’ll Never Walk Alone to The Beatles’ Let It Be, not to mention a couple by Dylan himself. Numinous is the overworked word that describes their effect. Wherever they came from, they far outran their commercial dreams, and probably their artistic ones as well.
Full article: Ruth Gledhill – Times Online – WBLG: Good karma for Cohen.