Coin Operated Boy (lapsuslingue) wrote in ofmusic,
Coin Operated Boy
lapsuslingue
ofmusic

Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright

I sought long and hard for a song to start this all off; I tried to find a song that would be relatively recognizable and with enough enigma to it to stir up an interesting conversation. This song was in a popular movie, and for all the movie's comedic antics, it hid a song which has stayed with me over the years. A beautiful melody, a passionate voice and a story that seemed to jump around to different scenes; tonight will be the first time I actually sit down with the lyrics and try to make sense of them. Wish me luck.


Hallelujah
Rufus Wainwright

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

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 your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Here's my take on it.
Hallelujah seems to carry a common concept throughout all of the different verses, and that is corruption. More specifically, corruption of something good and holy by the use of something raw and visceral; lovemaking. Stay with me a second here.

Verse 1 has David playing a simple chord, constructing a melody for his Lord. The rise in the piano during the lines "the fourth, the fifth" helps to build up passion, the minor fall and the major lift seem like the two most distinct emotions during orgasm, and the baffled king is David, confused and innocent, as he creates sex. This is, of course, all in a very metaphysical sense.

Verse 2 seems to be very distinctive to the parable of Samson and Delilah; a man of great faith and superhuman strength, courtesy of his blessed hair, seduced by a woman. All of his power is lost when she cuts his hair; he is ruined and left powerless because of his libido. He thought he had love and happiness, when all he had found was an empty bed; a recurring notion in this song.

Verse 3 seems to tell the tale of someone talking to a former lover, the two of them meeting up again in a place they once shared. The way he talks of the place makes it almost sound as if he's traversing through ruins; maybe the relationship crashed and burned. Jokingly, he admits that they never were truly in love; love is not something bright and vibrant, it's instead the inevitable cold loneliness of emotionless intimacy. The love in their relationship died till they were two people who shared a bed; even there, in the throes of their passion, they still felt cold.

Verse 4 has me a bit off center. The reference to "below" and "Holy Dark" almost has me feeling like the song's returned to it's biblical references, and this is a tale of two lovers, one who's fallen form grace. A thief and a nun; a priest and a prostitute. They talk of love they used to make, maybe love the nun (or priest) still missed fondly... of the Holy Dark they made to move, and the rhythmic, satirical cries of hallelujah.

Verse 5 seems to be a culmination of all these stories; love is blank, a filler emotion for those too cheap to use the word lust. Love is not the call of destiny, nor is it that special someone you're waiting for; it's the empty promises, it's the lonely bed and it's the crying times when you realize that, bodies may be warm, but you will always remain cold.

That came out a lot more morbid than I expected. Oh well, that's my take on the song, at least.

Edit: I've tried adding this to Grouper, so I think it's up there for you to find and listen to. Just search for the group OfMusic or for the user lapsuslingue. If you're having any troubles and want to get connected, send me your email address at jonathancorder@gmail.com ; Grouper has an invite option that I can invite you to through your email.
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