It’s kind of obvious that a lot of people like the song “Hallelujah,” because it seems to be covered by a lot of singers these days. But what is interesting is that they put their own flavor on the song to make it more personal to them. Damien Rice is an Irish folk singer who performs the song in front of an audience. His version kind of sounds like one of those old rock and roll songs of the 1950s because he begins the tune with a riff that sounds close to something that would be in a “doowop” song, and this can be heard until the end.
The way that Rice sings makes the song kind of special, because he sings with an Irish accent and it seemed kind of funny. There was nothing fancy about the way that the song was played, just a singer playing the guitar. The singing was alright but the guitar playing wasn’t very good, it seemed like Rice had problems with timing or wasn’t sure about where the chords were. But, this seemed the kind of thing you’d expect in a smaller place like a nightclub, and not at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You could tell that Rice thought the song was special but it didn’t seem that the audience was thinking the same thing. They just seemed bored and their applause when the song ended kind of reflected that. Maybe they were expecting more energy, maybe a bunch of electronic instruments, loud drums and some violins.
SafetySuit also played that same rock and roll riff except they also used violins during the song as well. The singer doesn’t start out so well. His voice sounds kind of weak and after hearing Rice play the song SafetySuit seems not to have any soul. You would think that SafetySuit would have an advantage because their version of “Hallelujah” was recorded in a studio so maybe they should have used more of the electronic recording equipment that seems popular these days. The drums begin to play and they open the song up and kind of take the intimacy out and make it almost seem to be something that would be played in a large stadium. This is really true when the guitar player begins. This is almost in the middle of the song and the playing is really good with some shredding and his use of electronic devices but then it stops and the violins begin to play again, and it at about here that the violins become sort of better than the rest of the song. Like more thought was put into them than everything else. The singer seems to have improved too and everything builds until the song ends. This version of “Hallelujah” just seemed schizoid and wasn’t very good. It’s the kind of song that maybe shouldn’t have been recorded in the first place.
A lot of people have visited YouTube to listen to Susan Boyle sing her version of the song and it’s easy to understand why: because it’s beautiful and the best of the three. Judging by the comments it seems that many younger people have listened to the song and have enjoyed it which is kind of surprising considering that it’s the type of music that old people listen to. The song begins with a piano and when Boyle begins to sing something seems to be kind of strange because she sound like she isn’t sure of herself, like she might be looking for prompts in order to go forward. So in the beginning she sound stiff and kind of like a robot. But then she seems to relax and when she sings those high notes, and when backed by the choir, her voice sounds like it is building up its emotional strength, and that is what makes this version the best of the lot. By the middle of the song it seems like Boyle has built up her confidence and she starts to use phrasing and a bit of crackling to her voice to add to the full effect. The way that Susan Boyle sings this song makes everything else about this version forgettable, which it should be because it is filled with way to much of everything else, the violins, the choir and the way in which the song was produced.
- “Damien Rice – Hallelujah.” YouTube. muschology, 12 Mar. 2008. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.
- “SafetySuit – Hallelujah (Studio Version).” YouTube. James Collins, 27 Aug. 2012. Web.
4 Sept. 2015.
- “Susan Boyle – Hallelujah.” YouTube. TheMscath, 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.