Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hallelujah, revisited.

It’s raining, Nicki and I are attempting to study, and I’m taking a break. I’m playing Ari Hest doing Hallelujah because it fits with the night. The rain and quiet demand it.

I listened to it today walking and was reminded of his command of his voice, of pitch, dynamics, the emotion reflected in the breaks. He knows the direction and arc of the song, and he pushes two climaxes out of it. Yes, like sex. “Remember when I moved in you, and the holy dove was moving too, and every breath we drew was Hallelujah.”

Probably because of the roughness of his voice in other songs, I’m always surprised by how he hits in the very center of pitches in this one. A bulls eye. That’s rarer than it should be in pop music. His falsetto is also startling; his range is higher than I’m comfortable with as a girl, and below it he’s a strong baritone.

Maybe there’s a God above
And all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
It’s not a cry that you hear at night
Not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

After this verse his voice breaks and it sounds like he’s faltering, like he’s about to cry. If it’s an act, then I’m fooled. And smitten.

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