What’s the Song “Hallelujah” About?

Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” is one of the most popular and most-covered songs in the world. But what does it actually mean? 

The lyrics are cryptic, and different people have interpreted them in different ways. Some say they’re about religion, many say they’re about love and sex, and still, others say they’re about Cohen’s personal struggles.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at the lyrics of “Hallelujah” and try to decipher what they mean. We’ll also explore some of the different interpretations of the song, and see why it’s resonated with so many people over the years.

So let’s dive in and try to figure out what the song “Hallelujah” is really about.

What's the Song “Hallelujah” About?

So, What's the Song “Hallelujah” About?

One of the main themes in the lyrics is sex-religion dualism, a topic that appears in many of the Canadian's other songs. Throughout the lyrics, David, king of Israel, plays the harp in order to calm Saul's evil soul.

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The line highlighted above has always been a big talking point in the song's lyrics. David is always the protagonist in this phrase, whose perplexity stems from his ability to follow his own human nature despite being chosen by God. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite.

Religious metaphors are used in the following verses, but the meaning is unclear. Some see these metaphors as the end of a love story, while others see them as praise for music.

What Does The Original Artist Have To Say About The Meaning of His Song? 

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Leonard Cohen explained the song's meaning as follows:

There are many conflicts and many things that cannot be reconciled in this world. In those moments, we can… reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that is what I mean by ‘Hallelujah'.

Hallelujahs of all kinds exist, and all hallelujahs, whether perfect or broken, are equally valuable. It's a desire to express my faith in life, not in a formal religious manner, but with enthusiasm and emotion.”

There is no eros, no love, and no praise for music, but a warm embrace for every situation in life.

There are many theories as to what the meaning of Hallelujah is, but all of them are probably wrong and right at the same time since music is subjective and can mean different things to different people.

What Does The Public Believe The Lyrics Mean?

The lyrics to “Hallelujah” are vague and open to interpretation. Cohen has said that the song is about “the struggle between having faith and not having faith.” But he has also said that the lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways, and that’s part of the beauty of the song.

There are many different theories about what the lyrics mean, but some of the most popular interpretations are that the song is about:



Some people believe that the lyrics are about Cohen’s struggles with his faith and the conflict between doubt and belief.

Love and Sex: 

Love and Sex: 

Others believe that the lyrics are about the physical and emotional aspects of love and sex.

Cohen’s Personal Struggles: 

Cohen’s Personal Struggles: 

Some people believe that the lyrics are about Cohen’s own personal struggles with depression, relationships, and mortality.

No matter what you believe the lyrics are about, there’s no denying that they’re powerful and resonant. And that’s part of what makes “Hallelujah” such a timeless and iconic song.

Who Wrote The Song “Hallelujah”?

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The song “Hallelujah” was originally written and composed by Leonard Cohen. Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, and poet who broke into the music scene in 1954. He was known for his dark, introspective lyrics, and “Hallelujah” is one of his most famous songs. The song itself was written in 1984, and it was first released on his album “Various Positions”.

The original version of the song is just Cohen singing and playing the guitar. It’s a slow, somber song with simple lyrics. But over the years, the song has been covered by hundreds of different artists, and it has taken on a life of its own.

Some of the most famous versions of “Hallelujah” have been performed by Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Rufus Wainwright, and Jennifer Hudson. Each artist put their own spin on the song, and it has been used in many movies, TV shows, and even commercials.

Why Has The Song “Hallelujah” Resonated With So Many People?

“Hallelujah” has been covered by hundreds of artists, and it has been used in movies, TV shows, and commercials. It was even voted the greatest Canadian song of all time in a CBC poll.

There are many reasons why the song has resonated with so many people over the years. Some people find comfort in the lyrics, others find solace, and still, others find strength.

Whatever people take away from the song, there’s no denying that it’s a powerful and moving piece of music. And that’s why it will continue to be covered and performed for years to come. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is a timeless classic that has resonated with people all over the world. 

Were There Any Controversies Around the Song “Hallelujah”?

There are a few key controversies around the song “Hallelujah.” Firstly, many believe that the original author, Leonard Cohen, never intended for the song to be religious. Cohen has stated in interviews that the song is about sexual ecstasy and love, not religion. 

However, the religious overtones of the lyrics have led to it being banned from some radio stations. Secondly, there have been several high-profile covers of the song, most notably by Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. These covers have often been more successful than Cohen's original, leading some to accuse them of stealing his thunder. 

Finally, the use of the word “hallelujah” has led to some Christians feeling that the song is blasphemous. This has resulted in several protests and calls for the song to be banned.  However, Cohen has defended the use of the word, stating that it is a legitimate religious term. Despite the controversies, “Hallelujah” remains one of the most popular and iconic songs of the past few decades.

Despite all of these controversies, “Hallelujah” remains one of the most popular and well-loved songs of all time.


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Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

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