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Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah Lyrics 6 years ago
Double true. Analyzing meaning, we stray from the beauty. The sustained rhyme & measured pace ~ the passion breathed through the words, the pauses, imbues a beauty. That's what I was getting to at the end of my amped pedantic somatic semantics.

Every singer, every listener brings their romanticism to a song, and the song moves through, around, and beyond. Only Leonard remembers his kitchen chair haircut his way ~ a tender, lost, tired, hurt, praise ~ (irreverent, reverent) reverie.

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Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah Lyrics 6 years ago
Good discussion, peeps! I read all the comments.

To limit this song within one realm of strict definition is to miss its voluminous luminous bituminous cumulus canonical methodological ontological tumescent quiescence epiphany. The words are saturated with poetry.

Summarizing its meaning is a personal & herculean task. There is a surface text to the immediate situation in the world of the speaker of the lyrics, commented upon by the songwriter, & these weave & meld interacting with a mythology riffing off of poetic universal & socio-historical biblical figures, mingling with the listener's life experience. On the skeleton of the words is a complex body & it speaks to the soul.

In a discussion with a woman friend about Cohen's "Hallelujah, we disagreed about the verse
There was a time when you let me know
what's really going on below
but now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
the holy dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was Hallelujah

She clings to the biblical references earlier in the song to support her interpretation of these words as being about the soul & feelings under the skin & how they connect & entwine with the other. I thank her for turning me on to this window into the song, but maintain she doesn't understand the first thing about Cohen if she doesn't see the immediate meaning is him talking about what's below the belt & panties. Reading Beautiful Losers, its apparent both poetic notions co-exist, as the altar of the woman is where Cohen prays. I note this is the verse most female singers of the song seem to walk through ~ it's a particularly male notion, to be shown it & be "moved in you."

The song is mystical. When Cohen wrote about standing before the lord of song, I believe he was speaking to the canon of all songs throughout history, as well as as the muses, as also biblical canon & the big lord, to offer this "Hallelujah" with its myriad complexity of the brilliance & fragility in its poetics (as well as his body of work, his canon toned & tomed, tuned & tombed, not to mention his physiological cannon) as his song about the exaltation & misery of human love (body born, spirit born, body driven, spirit driven). It's his Palchelbel.

Of course, for him, there was probably a specific catalyst for the song. While he wrote it for her, all of the rest spilled out. Whenever we experience sex &/or love, so much swirls in our consciousness (pasts, presents, futures, iconography, conceptions, rules, fact, fiction, truth, beauty, acceptance, disappointments, hopes, & burgeoning passions we cannot always name, define, or control our place in). He reveres & takes for granted sex, love, the mysticism of life. He loves & chides his partner. He at once speaks to & for the person of affection in the song, simultaneously with storied relationship predicaments. Even if the fire of this love is embers & ashes, he remembers a fondness beyond bitterness.

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Elvis Costello – Beyond Belief Lyrics 6 years ago
I agree with most of what's written so far. Some is spot on with how I react to the song. Others are close enough, & I quickly see how the take is derived from the lyrics & performance. The blend of vocals & instrumentation in "Beyond Belief" is a big measure of its musical greatness. The words are saturated with poetry. What's been pointed out about "in a sense" & "insults & flattery" shows how consciously constructed the song is to deliver dualities that play off each other.

Summarizing its meaning is a task similar to pining down Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" ~ there is a surface text to the immediate situation in the world of the speaker of the lyrics, commented upon by the songwriter, & these weave & meld interacting with a mythology riffing off of poetic universal & socio-historical standards, mingling with the listener's life experience. On the skeleton of the words is a complex body & it speaks to the soul.

In a discussion with a woman friend about Cohen's song, we disagreed about the verse
There was a time when you let me know
what's really going on below
but now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
the holy dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was Hallelujah

She clings to the biblical references earlier in the song to support her interpretation of these words as being about the soul & feelings under the skin & how they connect & entwine with the other. I thank her for turning me on to this window into the song, but maintain she doesn't understand the first thing about Cohen if she doesn't see the immediate meaning is him talking about what's below the belt & panties. Reading Beautiful Losers, its apparent both poetic notions co-exist, as the altar of the woman is where Cohen prays.

Costello's song is filled with the similar simultaneous poetics. Thanks for the observation about the brilliance of "canals of Mars & the Great Barrier reef." This lyric knocks into the immediate world of the man at the bar who wants to discover the world of a woman.

I get the notion of the speaker as aging pick up artist, but I assume he is the lonely guy in the bone orchard watching other men chase the women while he watches & drinks. This reminds me of the opening line from The Beautiful South's "Liars Bar," "sitting in a bar alone where no one knows your name is like lying in a grave yard wide awake." You can take "oily slick" two ways: he's the slick one with the lines, or as I take it, he's the residue in these waters, alone & timid.

I think he gets his courage up after draining a glass. It's not in the mirror behind the bar I see him looking when I hear "through a two way looking glass you see your Alice," but through the bottom of a clear pint glass. When the place is "almost empty" (as is his glass [a nod in my mind to Pete Townshends "Empty Glass"], he is filled with his observations & the alcohol enough to be out of his mind to approach a woman) he steps up to speak. He is spurned, or interprets her actions as spurning. I imagine him skipping small talk & trying to convince her about something deep. He doesn't feel real in the place; he's the tortured identikit. He may see all the others as transparent layers of faces going through motions (the "laddies cat call & wolf whistle, so-called gentleman & ladies"), while he has rich, complex, quiet personal thoughts. Either way, he doesn't feel like he has a chance, he's threatened by his timidity & their sure-footedness, so he leaves. Someone else might imagine he says the right words & leaves with the woman. One could even take it so far as his "clammy & cunning" hands move to unlock her fault vault canal, but I don't think this is in the cards for our man. He takes home with him unfilled desire. He sees the ritual for what it is & the players for who they are, but he can't participate.

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