19 Dec 2008

Hallelujah. Alexandra Burke vs. Jeff Buckley

I am just about sick of this nonsense I really am. Read here. I think I've harped on enough about Alexandra Burke and her glorious win from last Saturday's X Factor but this week is simply taking the piss.

I've mentioned before that I don't read the news anymore so I can't even begin to tell you what today's headline is all about. I was on Itunes last night and see that Alexandra and Jeff Buckley are #1 & 2 with the same song and thought "What the hell." I then check Alexandra's fan page on Facebook and you have the typical squabble about whose version is better. Then dig a little deeper and find that there are some Jeff Buckley fanatics taking it to a whole 'nother level pushing to get this song to #1 this weekend. The X Factor finalists covered Hero [badly] this year for charity by my fave gal Mariah Carey, but you weren't about to see me downloading in protest when already being a TRUE fan I already have the song probably 8 times over since 1993. So what's the point? Mariah doesn't care about #1's and Jeff Buckley can't because he's dead. Isn't the love and support for your artist enough without all this campaigning? If you have to campaign then what is that saying about the TRUE talent and appreciation of your musical idol? And to be honest I think the style and class of Buckley's music wouldn't even want to be as mainstream as it is right now. There are some musical artists who serve better wavering between popularity and underground. You know the ones, don't need a lot of hype, chart positions or press but can always sell out a world tour with just a strong following alone. Katie Melua, K.D. Lang [who has also covered this song famously], Tracy Chapman etc comes to mind on writing this.

This song has been covered around 300+ times according to Wikipedia. It was covered on American Idol before the X Factor so this isn't the first time this song has been endorsed by Simon Cowell. I don't really know what Jeff Buckley enthusiasts were so up in arms about so I decided to hear this 'wonderful, amazing' cover of Buckley on You Tube, then [even though I'd already heard Alex's version] listened to hers again straight afterwards with a very OPEN mind.

I am not just saying this for effect or to be funny, but I was sitting at my computer and nodded off to sleep listening to Jeff's version, AS GOD IS MY WITNESS I DID! I couldn't sit through that to the end. It made me want to kill myself. I guess this is what those folks mean when they say it's 'haunting' [black speak for dry and boring]. I listened to Alexandra's and was actually stirred by some kind of emotion.

As a black woman this isn't even about a black woman versus a white man and favouring her because we are black. Austin Drage was my top choice but got booted in week 4, and on top of that I listen to a LOT of music across the board so my viewpoint is hardly biased toward the soulful tones of Alexandra. Nickelback, Guns N Roses, Chris Cornell, James Morrison, Gavin DeGraw, Linkin Park and Evanesence to name a few are on heavy rotation in my house and ears. As is R&B, a little Hip-Hop, dancehall and soca. And when it comes to classical for me it's Vanessa Mae. A serious 'mix & blend' of music so I can appreciate the 'alternative' sound of Jeff Buckley and am open to listening to his genre of music.

But let's keep it real…

That version of Hallelujah was pure and utter shit. I don't care if Alexandra was a busker on the London Underground, or had a 20 year music career without the aid of a reality TV show, hers is better.

This is synonymous with 'classics' and the fanfare surrounding them just BECAUSE there is a fanfare. I mean you hear of movies like Wall Street and The Godfather being hailed as great movies and every person that watches it thereafter thinks it's the best thing ever created just because EVERYBODY is saying it. The Godfather didn't pique my interest. I thought Wall Street was boring and haven't even gotten to the end of Scarface yet. I WILL however watch the Godfather again and make it to the end of Scarface [maybe I'll do that this weekend], but from what I saw unimpressed. I also think the Beatles were shit and think nothing much of the legendary Paul McCartney. Can't sing to save his life and is straight up boring. Give me Sir Elton John and George Michael any day. Yes Sir Paul maybe a great songwriter, then do like Dianne Warren and David Foster and pen the hits for other artists and keep your vocally challenged ass quiet. I don't jump on bandwagons. I'm not about to say it was legendary just because 15 million other people are saying the same thing JUST to look and sound cool. Challenge somebody next time they harp on about some crap war film being 'amazing' and watch them stutter like bitches trying to come up with a free flowing answer. Most times they can't because they've never thought to as why they like it, they've just gone with the crowd because no one wants to be the oddball who has no problem being vocal about their dislike for something so popular.

Jeff Buckley has a cult of what seems a lot of people clambering onto a bandwagon of his music. I had NEVER heard of him until this week and then all of a sudden his loyal fans are only NOW buying his 14 year old Leonard Cohen cover version? If you're so diehard why don't you have it already? It's like, if you don't like Jeff's version or you say anything remotely negative about it, then your seriously NOT COOL to prefer the version of a reality TV show winner.

It's not Alexandra's fault, she has no control over her career whatsoever at this point and probably won't ever for a very long time. She sung it in her own personal way the same way JLS did and Eoghan would have done if they'd have won. Is this backlash aimed at Alexandra, The X Factor, Simon Cowell himself as a money hungry mogul, or all three? See this is why I love Simon, the man knows how to make his money and doesn't apologise for it along the way, a shrewd hustler, I like that. Nothing wrong with what he's done at all. I'm slightly familiar with the song Hallelujah, and down to him he has exposed Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley to a new audience who may have never been particularly interested in the song or the music of these two artists. It was down to American Idol that I discovered Gavin DeGraw and fell in love with his music and sound that's not that big in the UK as he is in the US. These shows have a lot of influence, more than they are being given credit for.

What Jeff Buckley fanatics fail to realise is this:

  • The song is NOT his. His estate will earn no money from the re-release of it on such a huge scale.
  • The song is written by Leonard Cohen who is estimated to pocket over £1,000,000 in royalties alone from the sale of Alexandra's single and now the sales of Buckley's version.
  • Leonard Cohen is NOT dead. There was some dumbass talking about Leonard must be turning in his grave on a forum. Double dumbass!!
  • Buckley's version and Alexandra's version are released under Columbia/Sony BMG. Simon Cowell's company SyCo Records is signed under Columbia/Sony BMG. So the Cowell and Burke 'hater's are all a big happy family under the Sony umbrella. Sony is having the last laugh, or could it be Simon Cowell having the last laugh and with a great scheme of choosing this song KNOWING the sales of Buckley's version rocketed in the US after being featured on American Idol and made Hallelujah the song choice in the UK. Seems like the Buckley fanatics got shafted with a massive rod and made to look fools of and are nothing more than pawns in an industry game of making money. Gwannnnnnn Simon & Sony!!! [But only in this instance though, we all know record labels are shady].
  • This song has been covered anywhere between 100-300 times. So why they are pissy about Alexandra's version I don't know. She can sing it and interpret her own version just like Jeff did, of his own accord. She injected soul. He droned on the record and put me to sleep.
  • A dead horse is being flogged, Alexandra received 8 million votes [2 of those mine] in the final and has been sold out in record stores and the fastest selling download in Europe ever. Be happy with a #2 slot in the charts this week. Sony are even happier.
  • Jeff Buckley's version was awful and borderline suicidal. I don't know what talent he possessed.
  • The other great version of this song was in Shrek. Yes Shrek. Not Jeff Buckley's version. I'll say it again...Shrek by Rufus Wainwright. I will get my hands on that version tonight!!!
  • The song has nothing to do with religion but rumoured to be about Hallelujah being synonymous with the orgasm. Alexandra is obviously happy with her climaxes from the way she sung it. Those poor women that had the misfortune of sleeping with Buckley. So what 'feeling' did he invoke in this dreary version that was remotely orgasmic I'd like to know?

    This is in no way a disrespect to Jeff as an artist, but merely on the cover of this song. I cannot and will not comment on his whole works as I haven't listened to them, and probably won't because that song has put me right off wanting to find out anything further about his music.

    BUT a mandatory positive on his version of Hallelujah, if I ever have trouble falling asleep I will play the You Tube version to send me off quicker. That mess cannot occupy my ipod. I just hope it doesn't shut my computer down if it does get played on it again.

    Everybody has a right to their opinion and I guess I just had mine.

  • Leonard Cohen

    Alexandra Burke

    Jeff Buckley


    1. Thank you thank you thank you! I can't get over this! There are over 100,000 people in the Jeff Buckley for #1 facebook group and they are all gathering at Trafalgar Sq to sing and hold Jeff Buckley banners (think it was this afternoon actually). Facebook has turned any idiot into a protestor. Leonard Cohen is laughing all the way to the bank and so are Sony.

    2. **kisses teeth** Those fools have TIME. When were they giving a damn about Jeff Buckley before?

      And you are welcome. I'm sick of the rude comments against AB's single on Itunes and hardly any negative criticism on JB's version on the same site. These people are extremely bitter over a song the man didn't even write.

      Damn, never fire a white guy from his job or cover a famous cover of theirs, they'll go postal on your ass guns and banners a blazin'

      They are too FANatical for me to even comprehend.

    3. LOL you are too funny. As you know i stay away from Reality tv and their stars like a plague and dont waste a minute of my time with their controversies but i read your blog and it reminded me of looking at Youtube comments on Maxwell vs Kate Bush on her song "A womans worth/work" and how all the Kate Bush fans were trying to diss Maxwell but in the meantime i love the Maxwell rendition far better than Kate Bush's own but didnt see why all the hate was geared towards the guy for resurrecting a great song and doint it some justice. The same can be said of Whitney Houstons rendition of Dolly Parton's "I will always love you" and you will always find haters. You are right Godfather was boring as hell but i watched it because everyone else did. I prefer Goodfellas as a real mafia tale. Scarface was a classic for me though but i doubt it will be as cool watching it nowadays cos time has changed so much that it will almost looked absolutely corny.

    4. Goodfellas now THAT is my movie. 18 years on and I still love watching it. Please don't even get me started on Kate Bush. She comes across as a prize nutcase and she scared me as a child.

    5. LOL this post had me creasing on so many levels, throughout!
      I'm glad Alexandra's done so well, she deserves it; her voice is AMAZING and she's come a long way.

      LMAO @ The JBuckley fanatics


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