A Bunch of Dudes Sitting Around Singing
July 16, 2006 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading "The Dead" and thinking the discussion about sweet tenor voices...Caruso vs. Parkinson...was a bit strange. Hearing the admiration of beautiful male voices over the years, especially by men (women's opinions are understandable), I never quite got it; I've always been partial to a woman's sound. Then I heard this (embedded yourdailymedia.com vid) and I think now I do.
posted by sluglicker (33 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The gap-toothed blond guy is Norwegian Kurt Nilsen but I have no idea who the rest of them are. Great voices, all. Does this make me gay? (not that there's anything wrong with that). Now let the snobbery and insults begin!
posted by sluglicker at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2006

Interesting that a Leonard Cohen, a guy with no range and almost no singing voice, would write a song that's perfect for big voices. Jeff Buckley still owns this song, (YouTube, not his best version) but, hey, he's dead, other guys can sing it.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:04 PM on July 16, 2006

Jeff Buckley has an amazing cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.
posted by sindark at 3:05 PM on July 16, 2006

This has been the song to cover if you're going to cover songs, lately. Sincere and soulful version, this.
posted by moonbird at 3:06 PM on July 16, 2006

Incredibly lovely. Rufus Wainwright's cover is still my favorite but - damn, this was good. THanks.
posted by kalimac at 3:10 PM on July 16, 2006

Great performance of a fine song. Thanks, sluglicker for identifying Kurt Nilsen for us... I saw him for 2 minutes on World Idol in 2004, but recognized him instantly here and would never haved recalled from where.
posted by chudmonkey at 3:13 PM on July 16, 2006

This has been the song to cover if you're going to cover songs

You can say that again.
posted by dobbs at 3:21 PM on July 16, 2006

Yeah, Buckley's version is my all-time favorite. I don't know how much I dig the harmonies in this version. This isn't exactly a group-singalong kinda song. Kurt Nilsen and the guy with black hair do have particularly lovely voices, though. The guy with the guitar looks and sounds exactly like my ex. Yikes. Maybe I should check out what he's been up to lately.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2006

That's the first time I ever heard anyone change the pronunciation of the word "hallelujah" in any version of that song. I have to admit that 1. Buckley's is still my favorite as well and 2. that changed pronunciation turns me off like crazy.
posted by birdie birdington at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2006

Espen Lind, Askil Holm & Alejandro Fuentes are the other 3, according to the commentary at this page: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/153563/hallelujah/
posted by chudmonkey at 3:32 PM on July 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

The first time I heard Hallelujah it was at the end of an episode of The West Wing, and I remember it giving me chills - it was so perfectly placed for the scene onscreen. I found it hard to believe at the time that it wasn't actually written especially for the episode.

In any case, that version in sluglicker's link is absolutely breathtaking. The first singer (the guy playing the guitar) is almost a vocal doppelganger of Freddie Mercury - who I would imagine would have been able to do a fair version of that song, himself.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:03 PM on July 16, 2006

I wish I had a link, but one of the songs that really takes off when a group joins in the singing is the track "Sky Blue" off of Peter Gabriel's album Up. Highly recommended, and, for me, much the same experience as a truly top-notch performance of any number of Leonard Cohen's awesome songs.
posted by chimaera at 4:08 PM on July 16, 2006

Nice version, each voice is prettier than the last. Jeff Buckley is my favorite on this one too, but another one I really love is a live version by some huge white dude named Poppa Chubby. He turns it into a bluesy gospel song, and I think it's great, and I'm not usually a blues fan.
posted by tula at 4:10 PM on July 16, 2006

That was an absolutely lovely song. I'm trying to work out which version I prefer - Buckley or Wainwright.

Thanks for posting.
posted by Julnyes at 4:33 PM on July 16, 2006

It dosn't sound that amazing to me. Most of their voices are very, I guess I would say "gravely" but it's not quite that level.

But extending the voice == material metaphor I guess I would say these voices are "sandy" or "dusty". To me what I consider "beautiful" voices are very smooth voices, like water or glass. I've heard men sing like that before, it was a lot more pleasant then hearing these guys.

Obviously it's an aesthetic but to me these guys don't sound that good, and the song is bland and boring, especially with these voices (they're the kind of voices you hear in rock or country music, I think). To me they don't even sound like they're really in tune.
posted by delmoi at 5:48 PM on July 16, 2006

You know, I don't disagree with anything you said. In fact, I made the connection to country too. But the point of my post wasn't about that. It was about a man (me) appreciating another man's voice, thinking it was beautiful, which was very odd for me. Thank you to those who posted some great links and your comments.
posted by sluglicker at 7:13 PM on July 16, 2006

The sounds of these voices with this song seemed just about right. Perfection in the voice doesn't necessary suit the subject matter, which seems to me to be the spirituality of imperfection. The last guy to sing was utterly awesome, and nailed the soul of it, for my taste. Leonard Cohen has a very limited voice, but his singing of his songs does work, just as these singers did. Beautiful! Thanks for the link.
posted by birdhaus at 7:31 PM on July 16, 2006

I have never heard a cover of a Leonard Cohen song that sounded as good to me as his original.

As for his having no range and not much of a voice, that would be one opinion. I find his work to be incredible, and if you look at how many performers think of him as an important influence, I'm not alone.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 8:07 PM on July 16, 2006

I have never heard a cover of a Leonard Cohen song that sounded as good to me as his original.

you're not alone... though there are a wide range of opinions.

thanks for this link; some beautiful moments. preferred it to jeff, myself...
posted by mdn at 8:29 PM on July 16, 2006

Very nice. Anyone have any idea where this came from? or am i missing something on the yourdailyvideo.com page?
posted by hwickline at 8:50 PM on July 16, 2006

Thank you for this wonderful interlude. I have enjoyed the links. In doing so, I hunted up lyrics, quickly. This link is to what are said to be Leonard Cohen's lyrics. Whereas THIS one is supposed to be Jeff Buckley lyrics.

I sure do love the Jeff Buckley performance.
posted by swlabr at 9:28 PM on July 16, 2006

On second thought, I think it is just the song that I love.
posted by swlabr at 9:30 PM on July 16, 2006

This Amazon article is a pretty good history of the song and it's covers. Of all the covers, I like John Cale's live version album Fragments of a Rainy Season.
posted by wobh at 9:45 PM on July 16, 2006

Wainwright's cover is my favorite, but I've been watching/listening to this video over and over and over. Great find - thanks for passing it along.
posted by avoision at 10:13 PM on July 16, 2006

Great find. The Jeff Buckley version is the one for me. BBC Radio 2 recently did a piece on Music to Change your Life, and Buckleys version was voted second.
posted by lloyder at 3:32 AM on July 17, 2006

I second John Cale's live version on Fragments of a Rainy Season. The sheer intensity of that performance pales every other cover version in comparison.

Kurt Nilson, or Jeff Buckley, lack emotion.
posted by ijsbrand at 6:45 AM on July 17, 2006

Beautiful, thank you.

I would love to be able to save the audio from this WMV to an MP3. Can anyone recommend a Mac OS X app for doing this?
posted by ottereroticist at 10:28 AM on July 17, 2006

Sweet Jesus, somebody mp3 this and post it.
posted by ArsncHeart at 3:39 PM on July 17, 2006

Kurt Nilsen, Alejandro Fuentes, Espen Lind, and Askil Holm.

From Hallelujah Live

I put an mp3 of it up here, let's see how long it lasts... ;)
posted by gemmy at 4:18 PM on July 17, 2006

Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Thank YOU.


posted by ArsncHeart at 5:55 PM on July 17, 2006

No pre-packaged set design, no fancy choreography, no lip synching, no pitch correction software, no background dancers.

A guitar and four guys singing.

And talent.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:15 PM on July 17, 2006

Thank you for posting this. I'm enjoying it immensely
posted by BillsR100 at 7:43 PM on July 17, 2006

I was rocked by this song, the harmonies especially. Each voice so different, so strong, yet gentle.
posted by rougy at 9:47 PM on July 17, 2006

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