November 13, 2009

Breaking News: Leonard Cohen mispronounces the lyrics to his own song "Hallelujah"

Mr Quill had also commented in his report on Leonard Cohen live in Bucureşti:

Strangely, the rendition of Hallelujah was rather flat. I wonder if he felt obligated to perform it, although I doubt that Cohen would ever bow to the expectations of a crowd in such a way. I was baffled by his decision to explicitly pronounce the words "do you" a la Rufus Wainwright's fantastically dull version. All I can think of is that he wanted to make the song more jarring
Now, this is bizarre beyond words. The famous song, which is now most famous in several other versions by several other famous singers, hinges on a lyrical device wherein the hook, the word 'Hallelujah', rhymes with a vernacular pronunciation of the word 'you', i.e. "you don't really care for music, do ya?" This rhymes with 'hallelujah', whereas "do you" does not. "Overthrew ya", "I knew ya", "out drew ya", &c. Several other famous singers all sing "do yoooo", ruining the rhyme.

Youtube has lost this amazing video of him singing the song on television sound stage in the 70s, but here's his version as it should sound like. We'll report back how he pronounces it tonight in San Jose.

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