This is one of those songs that seemed like it should impress but somehow missed for me in the past. It’s deceptively difficult to sing and some artists have mistaken shrillness for emotion and vocal lift. Power singing distracts from the poetry of the lyrics.
Finally, I heard this rendition performed by k.d. lang. The instrumentals are simple with the surging, almost marching temp of the piano. The primary focus is the singer who can make or break this song. k.d. lang is not only a gifted vocalist, but she immerses herself in the music and she showcases both here. This performance was live at the 2010 Olympics and best I’ve heard by anybody to date.
Here is Hallelujah, written by Leonard Cohen. Lyrics are here.