The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah" - Alan Light

"There is a religious hallelujah, but there are many other ones," Leonard Cohen once said. "When one looks at the world, there's only one thing to say and it's hallelujah. That's the way it is."

 

Well, that was a fascinatingly dry read.

 

I've been on a huge Jeff Buckley kick lately. I just cannot get enough of Grace. It's amazing and Hallelujah is really the shining point on that album. So, when I came across this book, I decided to check it out. It's really fascinating to read about all of the various incarnations that one song has taken on. Much to my dismay, however, the author ensured that he told us about pretty much every single one. After a while, it became a little tedious to wade through everything, which made it hard to really hammer home the importance that this song has had for people over the years. I also wish that I could have actually read more about Cohen and Buckley themselves, since they are in the title of the book. I take that back, Cohen was a big focus but it seemed that it was taking more of his opinion on everyone else's version instead of his own.

 

Anyway. The idea behind this was interesting. This is an important song in pop culture. It's also one of the most over played, so I guess seeing it picked apart repeatedly in this books kind of fits. It doesn't make for super interesting reads though. On the plus side for this book, I'm definitely want to hunt down quality biographies on both Cohen and Buckley now. Guess that is something.