Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah Meaning
Song Released: 1984
Covered By: Rufus Wainwright (2007), Jordan Smith (2015), Pentatonix (2016)
anonymous Aug 28th, 2016 8:51am report
It's the story of returning to your first love, the safest place. Hallelujah. In human love, we are easily swept away and disillusioned to believe it is more than just chemistry. In the beginning we share what's deeply felt inside our souls with another and seemingly they with us. Unfortunately, once the conquest is made immaturity seeks something different instead of something deeper, more difficult, more dark, below the surface of we are willing to expose anymore. One person is abandoned for another and we are left completely exposed and vulnerable. Once lost, the pain we feel from having been nothing more than one more persons victory we are left with what to do with their new love interest that outdrew us...then return to our first love which cannot ever let us down because of its nature of relationship with us. Human emotional love is outgrown and a more stable version of mutual support and a commitment of sacrifice is accepted and traded in for the fleeting pleasure and life long pain of unrequited human passions.
anonymous Jul 15th, 2016 7:10pm report
I always thought Cohen was a dirty old man, but in a cooler-than-you kind of way.
So Hallelujah to me just seemed obviously sexual. lallelujah is the female orgasm, and how powerful and elusive it is.
Most of the song seems like a biblical analogy of oral sex on a woman.
I'm sorry if that offends those of you who consider it a hymn to be sung in church, but you know... Cohen is that brilliant dirty old man
anonymous Jul 13th, 2016 7:57pm report
It's Adam and Eve all over again. Again and again and again.
Drawn to material things (as opposed to spiritual) they prove to fail in fulfillment and we are left seeking higher power once again - often it takes being broken to bring us to place of seeking.
Not that love isn't spiritual... but reliance on things human proves both unlasting and unfulfilling and invariably ends in being let down.
anonymous Jul 13th, 2016 7:05am report
I found this song moves me to great depths! But I couldn't understand the words.
Mr. Cohen was refreshingly clear..so I was interested in the history and input here.
I understand how an artist adds words to his ballad to feed the crouds..
Music is such that each person who experiences the song is touched emotionaly. And we each have our own depths of emotion. Our own experience. Our own interpretation.
As a woman I must alter words to get the meaning that is digging at my soul.
Also I sing an octive higher and with power. So this is my interpretation of this glorious work of soul cleansing art:
1: Now I've heard there was a secret cord
That David played and it Pleased The Lord..
(spoken) But you don't realy care for music. Do you?
(sung to my self..building to powerful crescendo) It goes like this: the fourth-the fifth. The minor fall and the major lift..
The baffled King compossing
HALLELUJAH!!! (victorious) (thankful) (joyouse)..
2: My faith was strong-but YOU needed proof.
(reflecting) you saw her bathing on the roof..Her beauty and the moonlight
(spoken. Wondering. Knowing an ah- ha moment.)overthrew you.
(sudden anger and bitterness) He tied me to the kitchen chair!
He broke my throne,and He cut my hair!
And from my lips He drew my Hallelujah! ( despairing, loss, pleading to God) hallelujah..
3. So maybe there's a God above,
But all I ever learned from love was how to shoot someone..who out drew you.
And its not a cry that you heard at night.
It's not somebody who's seen the light.
Its a cold and its a broken
(bitter realization. Conclusion on the fight within. But the discussion gose on
A discussion of faith and supositions.) 4: You say I "took the name in vain", I don't even know the name..Even though I did!
Well whats it to ya?
There's a blaze of light in Every Word!
It dosn't matter what you heard. The Holy or the broken Hallelujah. (repeat as determination and strength builds)
5: ..maybe I have been here before..
I know this room.
I've walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen my flag on the marble arch!..But love is not a victory march!
It's a cold
And its a broken
(contemplating loss and broken trust)
6: I did my best, though it wasn't enouph.
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch.
I told the Truth! I didn't come to fool you!
And even though it all went wrong
(determined in mind and heart) I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!..(ends with deep gratitude, assurance, leaving wreckage behind and joyful dedication to, and love of God)
This song sais that the important thing in life is not our failures and imperfect state, niether slander nor abandonment, nor loss, but strength of spirit and greatful acceptance of the Love of God. For your song can "Please the Lord".
anonymous Jul 12th, 2016 7:42pm report
Oh, Hallelujah, praise You, Lord!
Please help Mr. Cohen and others to know who You are and to worship You in Spirit and in truth.
Please draw them to You. LORD God, You are love. You are what our hearts long for and the meaning of our lives. Hallelujah!!!
anonymous Mar 27th, 2016 3:27am report
Hallelujah reflects on the dichotomy between romantic and spiritual love
anonymous Mar 27th, 2016 3:04am report
It is the hardships of true love.
anonymous Feb 1st, 2016 2:59pm report
The phrase Hallelujah literally means "Praise Jehovah". As an old testament phrase, this was a poetic form of singing praise to God. As a writer of many portions of the psalms, David used this expression. Jehovah is identified in the original texts as Gods name. It was removed and still is absent in many modern bibles apart from Psalms 83.
The verse in the song referring to an unknown name, and the 'taking the name in vain' refers the 'jah' in hallelujah.. God's name that few people know these days.
anonymous Jan 12th, 2016 1:49pm report
The bottom line of this song is that it demonstrates the universality of all human experience. More so, it asserts that whether we know how, or why, whether we succeed or fail, or even whether we BELIEVE it or not, God is glorified. It artistically paints picture after picture of the individual coming to the realization that we are all subjects to an enigmatic, fearsome, yet somehow compassionate, King.
anonymous Jan 1st, 2016 1:32pm report
Our observations are extremely limited bc we experience the "world" through our senses. The person who posted on Oct 15th at 10:54 wrote a small explanation that's actually worthy of pondering.
Some are here to shed light and not to master
anonymous Dec 23rd, 2015 12:24pm report
Hallelujah reflects on the dichotomy between romantic and spiritual love. While each verse describes the bittersweet heartache of a lost love affair, the chorus is just the repeated word "hallelujah", the essence of spiritual love. When "hallelujah" appears in a verse it refers to earthly joy that ebbs and flows and in this case finally turns cold and broken. In the chorus, "hallelujah" takes on a different meaning. With each successive utterance it moves from reflection to inspiration to conviction and finally, resignation. The chorus is compelling and satisfying because it tells us there is meaning in life and reason to celebrate, even in failed relationships. It is the spiritual distillation of romantic love that lingers in the heart.
I think it's crazy how much people project their own lives into songs. I suppose that is what music is supposed to do. :). Here is the way I see it:
The song is about a man (like Sampson and David) who has succumb to his desires and becomes completely enveloped by the love of a woman who ends up shattering both his heart and his belief in existence of God, brought about by the intense spiritual connection he once had with her. In the end, he is grateful for the experience. Hallelujah!
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