"Hallelujah" as written by Maceo Woods, Jacob Brian Dutton and Jayceon Terrell Taylor....
I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, 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 a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you
I remember when I moved in, you
and the holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah


Lyrics submitted by tjordaan

Hallelujah song meanings
Add your thoughts

20 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentIt seems simply, to me, a song about a broken man; disillusioned with love, religion and life.

    On one hand, the biblical references allude to the demise of a man's faith, and the demise of his relationship with God. The faith he once firmly had, has been questioned and ultimately torn apart.

    The lyrics can also convey a man disillusioned with (romantic) love, through his own bitter experiences. Love is a competition, or a power struggle.

    The things he once celebrated, he has lost confidence in; his celebrations have become cold and broken.
    indiebopperon November 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI found some additional information about Leonard Cohen's comments about what the song means at perso.wanadoo.fr/pilgraeme/….

    Jeff Buckely also does a haunting version that is simply beautiful. Other people who covered it are Allison Crowe and Rufus Wainwright (which I heard was also on Shrek).

    Everyone has their own interpretations. But based on the article cited above, from LC's own words, I really think it is about pure emotion, and it is both good and bad at the same time.

    There is a spiritual Hallelujah, and the biblical references are the starting point for the idea of the song. He says he got the idea from the "tradition" of compusers who said Hallelujah.

    But Cohen takes it much further, and the song really gets into Hallelujah in everyday life...in the emotion of things like beauty, pain, love and sex.

    An in my interpretation, the most important thing to me was how the song/music made me feel when he sings the word "Hallelujah." I love the other lyrics, they are so simple but deep. But the emotion in that one word, hallelujah, is both beautiful and sad.

    It is a very powerful and intense song. The songwriting is compared to Shakespeare in the Stylus Magazine article cited by ablack8 above.
    ashewon June 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love john cale's voice...takes a welshman to convey pure sadness, eh?
    queen_of_eyesoreson June 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song always seemed to me as like a break up song, in a sense. Really like a bitter ex-lover being like "you're gone, I'm in pain, hallelujah" and also the feeling that its hard to believe in god when you have such intense heart ache. I dunno, just my thoughts.
    taylormurrrayon October 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a really nice, meaningful song.
    It's lovely and slow, and the words show very descriptive words.
    SDM777
    SoulDMessenJah777on August 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song... It's very kind of spiritual and it's amazing how someone can make a song out of bible readings. I caught that the second verse was about Samson and Delilah. Very cool indeed. One thing I wanted to know was why no one else has any lyrics on this great guy...
    Born2Singon August 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, this song is very beautiful.

    However, it was written by Leonard Cohen-- one of the greatest lyricists (spelling?) ever.
    It was sung by John Cale on the Shrek soundtrack.

    And yes! why has no one else posted any lyrics for John Cale?! Cale is fantastic!
    I posted a few songs... hopefully they'll go up and people can put what they think, etc.
    Helix Noonon June 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song bespeaks Biblical references, but also deals with the same things--struggling to praise God in the middle of a messy life. It may be cold, but it's still praise.

    Anyway, I found a link while searching for Leonard Cohen that explains this song quite well:

    stylusmagazine.com/…
    ablack8on September 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell folks, you can't always define the absolute meaning of a song, but I think most of you have missed the boat on this one.
    First, read the original lyrics (Leonard Cohen). This version has confused the meaning. The is obviously about King David, his thankfulness and appreciation for his creator, and God's unlimited grace and forgiveness. Throughout his life David loved God, but he had flaws. Despite the gravity of David's (and our own) sin, God's love is bigger. The meaning of the hebrew word hallelujah is "praise God" not love stinks. Cohen had some jewish influnces in his life. After David's sinful ways he repented (see Bible), and went on to follow God with a deeper understanding of God's love and forgiveness. The word hallelujah is written 34 times in the original version of this song!.....praise God...when I'm flying high and when I'm disappointing...praise God because He's still there for us.
    matwoodon January 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell folks, you can't always define the absolute meaning of a song, but I think most of you have missed the boat on this one.
    First, read the original lyrics (Leonard Cohen). This version has confused the meaning. The is obviously about King David, his thankfulness and appreciation for his creator, and God's unlimited grace and forgiveness. Throughout his life David loved God, but he had flaws. Despite the gravity of David's (and our own) sin, God's love is bigger. The meaning of the hebrew word hallelujah is "praise God" not love stinks. Cohen had some jewish influnces in his life. After David's sinful ways he repented (see Bible), and went on to follow God with a deeper understanding of God's love and forgiveness. The word hallelujah is written 34 times in the original version of this song!.....praise God...when I'm flying high and when I'm disappointing...praise God because He's still there for us.
    matwoodon January 19, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain