Hallelujah – The Soul Soother

Posted 29 September, 2011 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 30 Comments


Every so often a song comes along that speaks to my soul. A song that I can listen to whether I’m happy or sad, one that I listen to on repeat.

Hallelujah is that song for me.

I first discovered the Rufus Wainwright version of the song when I saw Shrek many years ago. Shortly after I bought a new car and the previous owner had left her soundtrack to the movie in the CD player. I returned the CD to her but not until I had listened to Hallelujah approximately 50 million times.

[Hallelujah sung by Rufus Wainwright]

Hallelujah has become a song of comfort to me. The song I go to when my heart needs consoling. My personal lullaby. When I was pregnant I read somewhere that when babies are born they recognize songs they have heard over and over while in the womb. It became practice for me to sing Hallelujah quite frequently. It was around this time when I discovered that Jeff Buckley had a version of the song. I adore Jeff Buckley and his rendition is a little more raw than Rufus Wainwright’s. It instantly became my favorite.

[Hallelujah sung by Jeff Buckley]

When Elle was born, I started singing Hallelujah to her when she was going through fussy stages. It might be my imagination, but it seemed to soothe her. At night when I was rocking her, or after I had put her in her crib, in the car while we were driving, or during the day when she was inconsolable.

The other day I was listening to Pandora Radio and kd lang’s version of Hallelujah started playing. I was immediately enraptured. I tweeted about her gorrrrrrrrrrrrgeous version and @SuziQOregon turned me onto the below video with a warning that I should grab the box of tissues before watching.

I didn’t have a chance to listen to kd lang singing Hallelujah until I was in my car driving through Dallas rush hour traffic (don’t worry–had plugged into stereo, so no watching). When she started singing about the secret chord–the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift–my body became covered in goosebumps. By the time she got to Deliliah drawing the Hallelujah from Samson’s lips, I was in tears. The cold and the broken Hallelujah had me sobbing. Heaving Uncontrollable Sobbing.

It is the most beautiful thing I have EVER heard.

A haunting that pierces deep within. I love it so hard it hurts.

[Hallelujah sung by kd lang]

[Hallelujah sung by the original artist Leonard Cohen]

And there are so many more renditions of this beautiful song. I’m not a fan of Leonard Cohen’s version, but I appreciate it.

What song speaks to your soul?


30 Responses to “Hallelujah – The Soul Soother”

  1. I love, love, love this song too! I’d never heard the Rufus Wainwright or KD Lang versions. I have the Jeff Buckley version on my ipod and I go through times when I just listen to it on repeat for hours. It really does soothe my soul.

    Wow, that KD Lang version was beautiful. I too am not a fan of the Leonard Cohen version. I still think the Jeff Buckley version is my favorite. I get goosebumps nearly every time I listen to it. I love that you’ve shared that with Elle.

  2. I’ve loved this song since I heard it on Shrek too! I hadn’t heard the KD Lang version until now, and “haunting” is exactly the perfect word to describe it…and beautiful! One song I’ve been able to listen to for years on repeat that is also “hanting and beautiful” is “Puddle of Grace” by Amy Jo Johnson. :)

  3. I might have to buy the kd lang verson and I never buy songs!

    There is a particular quality to the “Fall on your knees” bit of that Christmas song that always gets me, but the other one that always gets me is this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB_m-C819yw (God, his voice in that one kills me EVERY time. Plus, that song at the exact moment that it hit home, ya know?)

  4. Rae

    This is one of my all time favorites as well. I hadn’t heard the KD Lang version. It’s great. My favorite is Wainwright’s. I had that on a cd in college and couldn’t get enough of it. I can still remember playing it over and over on a Rexburg to SLC drive one time and screaming it at the top of my lungs.
    The most recent song I can’t hear without crying is Ingrid Michaelson’s version of Fools Rush In. Oy vey. Love.
    Garth Brooks’s To Make You Feel My Love does it to me also.

  5. Rae

    PS If you haven’t seen the Like Crazy trailor with this song, I dare you to watch it without crying. Good luck.

  6. Oh, that episode of the West Wing with this song….crazy. Thanks for sharing the kd lang. I’d never heard that version.

  7. I adore this song too, but I always thought Jeff Buckley version’s was the original (probably because it was the first one I heard). I love that artists can take something someone else created and really recreate it to make it their own.

  8. Meg

    Oh boy, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t love this song! It’s so emotional, riveting, beautiful. I’m a huge fan, too.

    There are quite a few songs I listen to obsessively and don’t think I’ll ever tire of, including John Mayer’s “Edge of Desire.” Gets me every single time.

  9. I’m so glad you love the version I sent you. My favorite part of that video is the closing moments after the song is over. She and Leonard Cohen together – singer and songwriter – mutual appreciation and respect for each others talents.

  10. I’m right there with you, Trish! Love, love, love this song. I think I have four versions on my iPad YouTube favorites. :) One, however, is a piano solo by Les’s (Lesley’s Book Nook) nephew. The piano alone is very powerful, and he is quite talented.

  11. I totally agree. This is one of the best songs of all time and personally I’m partial to Jeff Buckley’s version. When I was in college I watched the show The OC and in the last episode of the first season, a very sad thing happens as they play Hallelujah, and I cried buckets and buckets.

    The song “Falling Slowly” stirs a similar feeling in me. It also has been covered by about a million artists.

  12. Love, love, love this song. I have never heard the KD Lang version before, and it was beautiful. This is just such a haunting song.

    There are a couple songs that have real special meaning for me. “Iris” is one of them. The other is “Remember when it Rained.”

  13. The KD Lang version of this song was just gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing this Trish as I will be listening to this version over and over now :)

  14. I remember when you told me that this is a song you love to sing to Elle. I love it too.

    A similar song for me is “Let it Be” by the Beatles. It reminds me of our cold month in Carrollton, the three of us sharing a room, bonding together as we went through so much change. We listened to that song a lot that month, and it still evokes a powerful, melancholy yet hopeful feeling in me. Thanks for sharing. I love you.

  15. Jeff Buckley’s version is my favorite. I love “Hallelujah”. Somewhere, the other day, I recall reading a comment that there should be a moratorium on covers of the song. Seems like everyone under the sun has a version. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

  16. I love this song and it definitely speaks to me no matter my mood too. My favorite version is Rufus Wainwrights, I suppose because it’s the first version I heard. But it’s the type of song that I love no matter who sings it, as long as they sing it with emotion.

  17. This is one of my favourite songs too. I’ve yet to come across a bad version of it, but yes, Jeff Buckley is hard to beat, isn’t he?

  18. That is beautiful…but still not my favorite version. I’m not as big a fan of the versions that are more orchestral, although I do love the strings in the one. Plus I kept getting distracted while watching the video by the fact that lang is performing barefooted. I really need to stop watching videos!

  19. I have always loved this song – it’s amazing. I hadn’t heard all the versions you posted though, and I have to say that kd lang’s was my absolute favorite. GORGEOUS.

  20. This is one of my favorite songs too! It stirs emotion deep within me (I’m crying now listening to it as I type this!). You have a beautiful soul, Trish. I recently had a conversation with a friend about, “if you weren’t related to your family members, would you want to be friends with them?” ha ha, it was a rather funny discussion, and gave me pause to think. I KNOW I would want to be friends with you, and that even with our age difference, I would value you as one of my most cherished friends…. as I do now, as my friend….and as my daughter. I love you more than you can know. Hallelujah! — mom

  21. So, I know I am like a month late on this, but hey…
    This song does speak to my soul. So amazing. One song that always gets me is a song my David Ryan Harris called Don’t Look Down. I also love Mary Chapin Carpenters version of Grow Old Along with Me. Houston and I have part of the lyrics inscribed on our wedding rings. So beautiful.

  22. Okay, so we were listening to Toddler Radio on Pandora (a staple around here!) and one version of Hallelujah came on the other day (I can’t even remember which it was), and so I gave it a thumbs up, because, like you, I just love the song. So good! And now, I swear, in the last couple days, I have heard like 12 different versions of Hallelujah. haha

  23. That is too bizarre. I’ve had this song in my head for DAYS recently too. I love singing it to little man. I have the song on CD by Leonard Cohen. I love women singing it. I was googling it on Youtube and found Alexandra Burke’s version and it is beautiful.

  24. Les

    I’ve never seen the KD Lang version of this, so Thank You!!! This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I fell in love with it after hearing The Canadian Tenors’ version. So much so I that I asked my nephew to play it for me one year when I was visiting his family in San Diego. He surprised me last year with this. Every time I watch this video, I cry. Such talent and such a beautifully moving song.