Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Something About That Song

Picture this.

(Sicily...19...dang, Patrick's been watching too much Golden Girls again.)


Picture this.  It's 2001, and I've walked with Patrick's class to the movie theater to see Shrek.  It's their last field trip of the year, and his last in middle school, half community based instruction and half his teacher just wanting to let the kids have a good time.

Of course, at the time, Patrick was deathly terrified of movies.  So I went along, mp3 player in tow (yep, this was in the pre-iPod days) in case he had a panic attack.

The movie had lots of music -- in fact, that's what sets the first Shrek apart in my mind -- the music seemed to be much more carefully selected in the first one.  And Patrick did okay.

And "Hallelujah" came on.

There's just...something about that song.

The montage was great, but the quiet, sublimated anger in Rufus Wainwright's version was enthralling.  I had no idea that so many versions of the song existed, until a couple of years later, when I searched it on a whim in iTunes.

See, I'd recently searched the song "Yerushalahim Shel Zahav" ("Jerusalem of Gold").  One night when inputting lyrics, I'd googled the song to see what I could find, and I found out that the tune is actually a basque lullaby.  Well, I couldn't imagine the defiant chant in Schindler's List (which is how I had the song in the first place) as a lullaby, so I searched for other versions of it.

Thus began my interest in different versions of songs -- I love how different artists can put such a different spin on things.  What is a defiant statement in one version (Schindler's List) is a quiet, introspective song in another version.

Anyway, I was searching for different versions of Hallelujah and came across k.d. lang's version from Hymns of the 39th Parallel.


Just...wow.  There's a quiet...almost desperation to the song.  I was absolutely enthralled.  (I now have 4 versions of her singing the song.)

So, now, I have a total of...I think 8 versions of the song.

And then, a few nights ago, I was reading through writer Elizabeth Bear's blog, and discovered, to my amusement, that she had posted on the subject a little while back.

She has 14.

The funny thing is, now that I have a computer that doesn't stutter and die on youtube videos, I can easily see myself finding that many and more.

There's just something about the song.

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