Hallelujah
December 14, 2016 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Pentatonix We can spend this time debating "best versions", or we can enjoy the diversity... This one made me smile...
posted by HuronBob (40 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's true. We can debate. Because this version almost made me hate one of my favorite songs. PUDDLE4LIFE!!!!
posted by matt_od at 9:20 PM on December 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


matt_od... thanks so much...I'm sort of speechless. That's amazing...
posted by HuronBob at 9:34 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow. Nobuo Uematsu really took a different turn with the soundtrack on FFXV. The graphics are nice, though.
posted by sourcequench at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is elegant and stylish -- but other than a performance by Leonard himself, the best version of this song is by K.D. Lang.
posted by jrochest at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


ugh . . . so pop garbage-y . . panic!
posted by patrad at 10:16 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love Pentatonix and this song but also got a giggle out of this Tweet by Bård Ylvisåker of Ylvis, who released a Pentatonix-skewering satirical music video in January of this year: Ylvis - a Capella
posted by angeline at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


So, Pentatonix is like 2016 version of those old gap ads?
posted by lkc at 1:00 AM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just discovered Pentatonix when their Daft Punk medley queued up on my favourite generic music streaming service.
posted by Eleven at 2:08 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


but other than a performance by Leonard himself, the best version of this song is by K.D. Lang.[sic]

I saw k.d. lang on her Hymns Of The 49th Parallel tour and it was a ridiculous evening of completely hair-raising renditions of songs I know well. (I have goosebumps just typing this.) A Case Of You, Helpless, and then Hallelujah, a performance for which I was entirely unprepared. Utterly transporting, deeply resonant, and had the entire crowd on its feet with wild applause even while the tears were still streaming down their faces.

Honestly, I think k.d. should just sing every song ever always.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 AM on December 15, 2016 [17 favorites]


What hippybear said x 100 Bajillion Trillion Gazillion. I saw that same tour. OMG.

Her Hallelujah is sublime but her Love is Everything rips out my heart on a regular basis. She is unequaled.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:21 AM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Puddles for Life has a GREAT voice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBmCJEehYtU
His clown costume really wrecks the mood of Hallelujah.
posted by etaoin at 5:06 AM on December 15, 2016


that song. Makes me cry every time I hear it, no matter who is doing it.
posted by james33 at 5:32 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


If we're trading favorite covers, mine is by Clemson TakeNote.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:24 AM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I never had a great attachment to this song (I'm more of an 'Everybody Knows' person), but ever since Kate McKinnon did it on SNL I can't get enough. It's bittersweet, and I think 'Hallelujah' is always going to represent this point in history for me.
posted by bshaurette at 7:28 AM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


smashmouth has a good cover version
posted by beerperson at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like a capella and I love this song... but man can I not stand Pentatonix. The backup harmonies are always great, but the lead vox are always that extra-grace-note, breathy Glee-style bullshit. It never sounds like they believe what they're singing; they could be non-English speakers who learned it phonetically. There's a lot of technical talent on display but no soul.

Especially for this song, it works best the less showy and fussy it is. That's why I love the John Cale version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DinEKqtCDkg
posted by skullhead at 8:29 AM on December 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


I threw my fiver at the blue back in the day to defend Pentatonix, but while this is a typically good arrangement, "Hallelujah" must be sung solo, IMO.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:31 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like Pentatonix for some pieces. This is not one of them. Technically, it's very well done and they have beautiful voices. But like a lot of the songs that get sung on the reality talent shows, they focus on showing off their vocal skills and lose the emotional impact. This just makes me go "how nice". I've heard single person versions which absolutely sends chills and has a raw emotional intensity this lacks.
posted by Oh_Bobloblaw at 8:49 AM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Probably not for everyone, but here's Mary Testa's version.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 8:59 AM on December 15, 2016


The backup harmonies are always great, but the lead vox are always that extra-grace-note, breathy Glee-style bullshit. It never sounds like they believe what they're singing; they could be non-English speakers who learned it phonetically. There's a lot of technical talent on display but no soul.

We watched their Christmas special last night and man, this nailed it. Pop gloss and polish with lots of over-acting but no real feels.

I stick to John Cale, KD, or the original.
posted by Ber at 9:14 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Its funny this version is technically adept but the music video is so overproduced its killing me. I've seen a lot of Penatonix stuff that I like better then this.

Ironically Kate McKinnon's version may be one of the worst versions technically but its devastating timeliness makes it gut wrenchingly poignant.

I'm a Buckley guy personally - like most its where I first really heard the song but KD's version was the first to shake my confidence in that.

Hat tip to Cale though it seems his cover and arrangement has become canonical.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:29 AM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've probably listened to 10 different versions of this song in the last hour alone. Some I like better than others.

Leonard Cohen - thank you
posted by 7life at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Regina Spektor has a really beautiful version.
posted by kyrademon at 9:47 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ironically Kate McKinnon's version may be one of the worst versions technically but its devastating timeliness makes it gut wrenchingly poignant.

Anyone who performs "Hallelujah" perfectly has performed it incorrectly.
posted by Etrigan at 10:02 AM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Please stop capitalizing k.d. lang's name or initials. Thank you.
posted by hippybear at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Death Valley's got great acoustics.
posted by chavenet at 10:31 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


My favorite version is the one I got to sing with friends around a piano last month. I recommend the experience.

It's not a difficult song to sing or play. My (second) favorite version is by someone who always got a laugh out of the line "I was born with the gift of a golden voice".

But, technical perfection is cool, too. I like the Pentatonix version.
posted by floppyroofing at 10:42 AM on December 15, 2016


I went to a funeral a couple of years ago where this was sung. It was for a man who had been a beloved local musician and mentor for many years.

Two young women who'd played music with him began the song in harmony. They had beautiful voices but it started rocky and neither could make it past the second verse. Then one would rally and the other would break down, and the rest of the song was just the words where they could summon the courage to voice them. There were about 400 people at the memorial, with standing room going out past the doors, and no one could stop crying.

I'm in tears just writing this, and I'd never even met the man but I was friends with his daughter. That's my favorite version.
posted by mochapickle at 12:16 PM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I not stand Pentatonix. The backup harmonies are always great, but the lead vox are always that extra-grace-note, breathy Glee-style bullshit. It never sounds like they believe what they're singing; they could be non-English speakers who learned it phonetically. There's a lot of technical talent on display but no soul.

A while back somewhere (possibly here) I heard someone say "Pentatonix is what good music sounds like when you take out the music." That's probably over-harsh, but I think it accurately boils down to what you said.

I know this can be partly subjective, though. When I was a late teen, I liked me some King's Singers. They did a tour where they were doing some Simon & Garfunkel covers, including The Boxer, and that might have been my first real introduction to the song. I played it for a friend, and she was not impressed and fairly vocal about it, saying sure, the KS were good technically, but it just didn't have the gravitas and feeling and authenticity of the original. As a choir geek I was taken aback and not entirely convinced, but I decided to give Simon and Garfunkel some sustained listening to see if I could hear what she heard... and eventually came to the same conclusion.

I *think* my POV now is probably more correct, or at least more common, but did it come from acclimatizing or better perception for the expressive side of music? Is it wrong to appreciate the technical stylings and gloss over the feels? Not sure.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:01 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I get the impression that the members of Pentatonix might have been better served had they simply done a live cover of Hallelujah without all of the extra reverb and production flourishes. And while I do like their version, the song of theirs that makes my heart ache is Run To You.

Then again, why not have a clown with a golden voice cover it instead?
posted by Eikonaut at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2016


My chorus just performed a version based on this great Choir Choir Choir arrangement (which in turn is based on the Rufus Wainwright version). The chorus director chose it in September, but then Leonard Cohen died and THEN there was the Kate McKinnon version, and it just took on so much resonance. I teared up a few times singing it in rehearsals and I know I'm not the only one.

When we performed it at a nighttime holiday festival last week, the entire crowd was rapt - silent or quietly singing along. And not because we're that great - we're a community choir of people who just like to sing with other people, like a secular church choir - but because this song is just such a perfect vehicle for expressing deep emotion. As my choir director said after one rehearsal, "it just sings itself, doesn't it?" It's almost like an ancient folk song in that way - the melody is so singable, and both the words and music speak to emotional experiences that are so deep and universal.

I don't love this version, but I love this song, and I want to keep singing it so much that I might ask the chorus director if we can just keep it in our permanent repertoire.
posted by lunasol at 3:16 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like Pentatonix, though I agree with the 'Glee-style soulless' stuff written above. (As contradictory as that might seem.)

But though the rest of it feels like that, there's one section of this that feels good and real to me - the bearded dude's verse. That felt spare and sincere. I like you, beardy fella.
posted by pseudonymph at 8:26 PM on December 15, 2016


Pentatonix feels like a long con that's gone on too long. I expected them to cash in on a branded Auto-tune + Harmony Generator + Multiband Compressor plug-in suite well over a year ago.

If I really wanted to make a point, I'd put out a competing album featuring 5 Roombas and a bunch of software trickery, but I don't really have the time or money to do that right now. Maybe I'll hit up Kickstarter in the new year...

In the meantime, everyone should just listen to this.
posted by Anoplura at 8:48 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


So thinking about this song got me thinking about Randal Thompson's Alleluia, and this performance of it seemed good enough to share here. It's unrelated to Cohen's song, but also is somehow.
posted by hippybear at 3:52 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


AHHHHthe Thompson Alleluia is transcendent. Luckily I get to sing it fairly regularly as part of my church music gig. Glorious.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:43 AM on December 16, 2016


Kind of funny that the post's text is about not debating the merit of all the versions of the song, but then that's pretty much exactly what happened immediately, with some Pentatonix hate thrown in for good measure.

I thought this version was beautiful and moving. I have heard pretty much all the other covers. It's cool if you don't like theirs, but I do. Thanks for posting it, HuronBob.
posted by guster4lovers at 8:52 PM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Heh...Yep, that discussion was sure to happen. Next time I may throw some cat declawing and Zack Snyder references in for good measure...

That said..I also like this version, but then again, I would like this song if it was done in morse code with smoke.
posted by HuronBob at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2016


Kind of funny that the post's text is about not debating the merit of all the versions of the song

The post's text literally invites us to do that.
posted by Etrigan at 4:44 AM on December 17, 2016




... So, does nobody actually understand what the lyrics of this song are about? Because it's INSANELY funny to me that this is the sugar coated Christmas hit of the year. You know. Because it's got Hallelujah in it, it's about God, right?
posted by codacorolla at 9:17 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


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