There needs to a a word (something we can borrow from German perhaps) that describes that perfect moment when you are commuting to work by car, channel hopping the radio stations trying to find something that is not inane presenter chatter, ads, jingles, or music you hate, when you arrive on a station just as a brilliant song you haven’t heard in ages starts and you get to listen to the whole thing uninterrupted from end to end, so a smile arrives on your face for the rest of your journey. Maybe Pendelnmusikspürsinn or something.

I had such a Pendelnmusikspürsinn moment on the way to work this morning. The song was John Cale’s version of Hallelujah. This is the one that turned Leonard Cohen’s otherwise unremarkable song into the something amazing. In recent years it has been covered repeatedly, especially as a sort of religions anthem. Which is amusing as when you actually listen to the lyrics you realise it is filthy. The original versions are all about sex:

You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you

She tied you to a kitchen chair..
..And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

or how about this verse:

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do ya?

followed by:

But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

To be fair Cohen wrote over 80 verses, and many have biblical references. So it is possible to put together a version that looks religious. But Cohen himself has said the song is about love and ecstasy. And that is far more fun for the drive to work.

 

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