Song Lyric Sunday: The Baffled King Composing

Jim Adams is the host for SLS. This week’s theme: Head, Hat, Hair, Scarf suggested by Paula of Light Motifs II. The song should reference the prompt in the title or lyrics. If it doesn’t, please explain why you chose it.


Written by Leonard Cohen in 1984, Hallelujah must be the most poignant and painful pop song ever composed. But what do you expect from a singer-songwriter and poet whose work explored religion, politics, mental health, sexuality, death, and romantic relationships?

There are oodles of versions out there, but my favourite is the stripped back one from Jeff Buckley. His take puts you through an emotional wringer and then hangs you out to dry. Unlike Alexandra Burke’s attempt.

In 2008, she won British X-Factor, and some idiot decided Hallelujah would be perfect for her debut single. This so outraged fans of Jeff and Len that they started a campaign to get Jeff’s version to the number one spot. Unfortunately, the power of the people wasn’t enough; Ms Burke got to the top spot with Bucky-Boy at number two.

By 2009, the people were ready and willing to take down the next X-Factor winner after years of pap hogging the coveted Christmas number one spot. The song of mass destruction selected for this task was Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine. This time, it worked. The song took number one, and the band were so chuffed they performed a free concert in London as a thank you to their fans.

But enough of the waffle, time for an assault on your senses, which will be as cathartic as it is beautiful.

I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and 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 her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips, she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby, I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well, there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember, when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath, we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But, all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you?
And it’s not a cry, that you hear at night
It’s not somebody, who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah [repeat to fade]

Songwriter: Leonard Cohen
© Sony/ATV Songs LLC