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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jeff Buckley, Hallelujah!

You might have already read about this since the story has been floating around the internet for the past week, but the Leonard Cohen song, "Hallelujah" was performed by some dude on American Idol and it shot up the charts immediately. I don't really watch American Idol so I didn't see it for myself (I have more important things to do like dedicating myself to VH1 shows featuring Ricco Rodriguez--more on him later--Bret Michaels, Scott Baio and whichever "Brady" Christopher Knight used to be. Calm down, I know he was Bobby! Kidding, he was Greg, right?), but I know the song extremely well because it was made famous post-Cohen in the 90's by one of my personal favorites, Jeff Buckley.

The reason I decided to write this post is to tell you that if you're at all interested in this song by this particular singer (and why wouldn't you be?), but are not going to buy the entire Grace cd, you should put your hard-earned dollar to better use by getting the 9-minute version off of his Live at Siné 2-CD set. It's not only a live performance from a legendary show but is also 3 minutes longer than the version on Grace. It is also gorgeous and raw, which is what I love most about it. 

I feel qualified to share this information with you because I've been a freak for Jeff Buckley since the beginning of his career; and you can read all about it in a post I wrote back in June. It's a long one, but you aren't doing much else at work today, are you? Besides, at the end of that post is a good Buckley primer, and before you know it you might own every single thing that has ever been offered to the public-at-large like I do. My love for him started over 13 years ago with one song, and the next thing I knew, I had everything available, even the imports. Not that I'm obsessed. So, check out my non-obsession with Jeff Buckley by clicking HERE.

JB is #1 in popularity, not only in my playlists (on the left) but also because a billion people bought it through the iTunes store! You can see how NOT obsessed with his music I am. The playlists shown are only part of my Buckley collection. But I'm definitely not obsessed. Preoccupied, maybe; obsessed, no. Wait, is it possible to qualify as being "preoccupied" with something for over 13 years? I mean, I HAVE purchased other music over that time, and the Estate of Jeff Buckley hasn't put a restraining order against me, so that's a good sign, right?

At the end of the 9-minute Siné version, Jeff bids the crowd adieu after a very long and incredibly diverse set, in the sweetest way, and it always makes me smile: "That's all, good night. I love you... so much! You're fabulous, beautiful and I love you. Now let's go drink... and sleep!" Perfection. That sentiment alone is worth more than what they're charging. This makes me feel better about our economy, that in some way paying .99 for a great 9-minute song helps to balance out the swiftly rising gas and food prices. AND TAXES. If you have $1.98 to spend, buy both the Grace and Siné versions. Times are tough, though. Maybe you can go in on that purchase with a couple of your friends, and hold your own listening party! Charge a cover and by the end of the night you'll be ahead by a long-shot.

All of the people who didn't have this inside information and already paid the same price for the 6-minute version on Grace (still beautiful, but each version is different in 1,000 ways) kinda got screwed if you go solely by song-minutes-to-money... so, you're welcome.


alex said...

"It's a long one, but you aren't doing much else at work today, are you?"

Oh Jules, you are so spot on. If I had speakers I'd be all over listening to it right now. Alas, I have to wait until I get home.

Spammon said...

No, I'm pretty sure that this Buckley character stole this song from that guy that sang it on Shrek first.

Melissa said...

Ahh crap, one more to add to the iTunes list. I'm going to need a bigger iPod soon!

Sauntering Soul said...

I am an American Idol junkie and had never heard the song before. (The AI contestant who sang it is Jason Castro in case you are interested for any reason.) I loved the song and have been meaning to look into it a bit more. But see, you went and did that for me so THANKS!

The [Cherry] Ride said...

You have a Nikka Costa playlist? Saucy!

alex said...

Still don't have access to speakers but I was thinking, is this the version of the song that was on the OC the night Marissa died?

The Fruitcake Lady said...

I am a lone reed.
I prefer Rufus Wainwright's version. One of the few songs that can make me teary-eyed. (I just count Andrea Bocelli as one 'song' since everything he sings makes me stop breathing and get misty.)

stacey said...

Jule, I know you have far better cheesy TV to occupy your time, but I am as obsessed with AI as you are with Rock of Love. The kid who sang it is not bad, and I think even you would approve.

Jules said...

@Alex: It was really just a lucky guess, I don't have cameras set up in Canada or anything like that. As for the OC question.... prepare yourself. I never watched the OC, so I don't know the answer, though I figure by now you probably have answered it for yourself. Glad I could help!

@Spammon: I didn't even KNOW Shrek sang this song. What a multi-talented ogre!

@Melissa: If you're going to be filling up your iPod, make sure you click over to that post I mention from June and check out my breakdown of his best work. I mean, Hallelujah is a gorgeous song, but it's actually NOT my favorite Buckley tune!

@Bev: Glad I could sort of help, though there have been a whole handful of talented singers to cover this Leonard Cohen classic! Everyone has their favorite. Jeff Buckley's version is my *personal* favorite because his voice literally gives me chills (in a good way) and his music helped me through a really difficult time in my life, so I got nothing but love for him. I'll have to youtube the AI version, I am curious! You should also read that older post I link to (like I mentioned to Melissa, above) because if you like his voice from the iTunes samples, you'll have a little guide of which ones to check out. There's a lot out there to wade through!

@CherryRide: I AM saucy! Have you ever seen Nikka Costa live? I have seen her perform 3 different times; and I swear that everyone in the room got lucky either during the show or immediately after; with who they came to the show with or with a stranger (this is a slight exaggeration for illustration purposes, but man, it is pretty. darn. close. to. the. truth.) It was practically unavoidable, she steams up the proverbial windows in mere seconds.

I first heard her song, "Like a Feather" on a Tommy Hilfiger commercial in 2000, and did a mad internet scramble to find out who the singer was. Even though 3 or 4 of her songs are in commercials, it's her other stuff that I covet. "Swing it Around", "On & On", "Fooled Ya Baby", "Some Kind of Beautiful", "Hope it Felt Good" and "Just Because" are all songs that someday, someone will have to rip from my cold, dead hands.

@Fruitcake Lady: Dude, so emo! Never fear, Lone Reed. I get the Rufus thing. I LOVE Rufus. His Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk is my JAM! (even though I'm not personally a smoker, everybody can relate to that song!) JB is still my pick if they had to go head-to-head, though. BUT I HEAR YOU!

@Stace: I'm sure the kid wasn't bad, I wasn't saying JB is the end-all/be-all. It was just a suggestion if people were going to buy "this song by this singer", to help them choose the better value for the money! Don't make me challenge you to a Cosby-style tap dance-off. "Chall-unge!"

Also, are you saying that I'm obsessed with Rock of Love? What would you say if I told you I completely missed Sunday's episode and don't really care? I know, the world is upside down right now, isn't it? I'm still going to make some HEY-OHHHH! t-shirts, though. You want in? Of course you do. HEY-OHHHHH!

alex said...

What happened last night on Rock of Love?! I missed it! I think that your (US) Sunday episode is my (Can) Wednednesay episode. Was there an orgy or something of that nature?

And Jules, never watched the OC? I'm shocked and saddened.

Ree said...

Thanks Jules. I'm always looking for new music.

The Fruitcake Lady said...

I really want to believe that I am not the only one that got a complete and accurate image in my mind of the exact scene in which "Chall-unge!" occurs, yet I am afraid that I may be. Anyone else? Anyone? Sitcoms and me, it goes very deep and it is very real.

Stacey said...

Come on! Jules and I in a tapdance duel? Does it get any better!?! Don't answer that.

Jules said...

@Alex: I missed RoL so I don't know what went down! They'll re-air it a million times before next week, though. As for me not watching The O.C.; I watched the "documentary" version and it's spin-off religiously: Laguna Beach and The Hills.

@Fruitcake Lady: I'm sure you're not the only one!

Jules said...

@Stace: I can think of nothing better than you & me in a some Cosby sweaters, tap dancing.