By Olivia Holmes, Year 8



Hello Everyone, Livvy Here, and I wanted to discuss something that is not talked about, that sort of annoys me: Why is Hallelujah considered a Christmas song?

Some arguments that I’ve heard:

  • Its just (Why?)
  • As singers now try to find new material for the inevitable Christmas album, they may well be grasping at anything that sounds religious. “The first verse has ‘David,’ ‘Lord’ and ‘Hallelujah’—excellent! Let’s include it.”
  • It mentions religious figures!


But these can be proven wrong very easily by just looking at the Lyrics. I’m not going to go with a verse by verse analysis, but I’m going to take some of the quotes from the song to elaborate my point.

For one thing the most recognisable part in this song, the chorus. This is probably why it’s considered a Christmas song, since it sounds like it’s praising God, but the actual meaning is that is that the “hallelujah” is supposed to be almost in a sarcastic tone.  This is supposed to be a very depressing song, talking about love gone sour and loss. The song has never been about Christmas, It’s always been about the pains and downfalls of love, and how it can break you.

Some of the most heart-breaking lines in the songs are “And all I ever learned from love/was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya” – who wants to sing such a depressing line at Christmas, a time where we celebrate!?! Another example of this is the line “Love is not a victory March/It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah” – granted, this line is from the Jeff Buckley version of it, but that’s one of the most popular renditions of it, and again, this line is extremely depressing, and it talk about how painful love can be, and how when it ends, you feel sad, you feel awful.

I just feel like because we hear some religious figures, we brand it as a Christmas song – but it should be more seen as a sad song, as a song that has many layers and hidden meaning that can’t hear at first glance, and that’s what every song should be, pieces of Music with layers and layers of meaning that anyone can find if they listen to it or see it enough. I feel branding it as a Christmas song oversimplifies the dark yet beautiful nature of Hallelujah, just because of a few words. The tone and rest of the lyrics do not fit well with the Christmas theme. Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving and happiness, but the tone in Hallelujah is dark, sombre and depressing. Oversimplifying the song is actually disrespecting the song and what Leonard Cohen originally intended.

So, top answer the question, the reason Hallelujah is a Christmas song is society’s oversimplifying nature, and since the song still has religious figures, sadly, I don’t think It’s going to be a while until society realises that not every song is simple, each song has different meanings, and we should appreciate every single one.

I’ll see you in the Future!!!

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