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Rate-O-Rama: Hallelujah

Songmania Edition #12: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Alexandra Burke

By Rick Henry Christopher Published 18 days ago β€’ 5 min read
Top Story - November 2023
Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Alexandra Burke

Scroll down to see the new Rate-O-Rama Raffle Winner for October 2023.

If you wish to receive a notice when the next Rate-O-Rama post is published please mention that you would like a notification in the comments section.

Rate-O-Rama : Songmania is a reader participation game.

Every Sunday I will publish a Rate-O-Rama article which will feature three versions of a popular song.

The object is to listen to each of the music videos provided within the post.

After listening to each video you can rate each song in the comments section below.

(You must be a member to comment. If you are not a member you can join Vocal Media for FREE. You don’t ever have to pay for membership unless you choose to upgrade your membership)


The rating method is easy. Simply give each song a rating of 1 to 100.

(The more you like the song the higher the rating).

If possible, please provide a brief comment explaining the reasoning behind your ratings for each song.

After a week (Saturday evening) I will tally the ratings and in the next Rate-O-Rama post I will announce the winner from the previous post.

The winners will be determined on a scale of averages.


The Raffle!!!

I am taking the Rate-O-Rama series to the next level. At the end of each month I will do a raffle in which the winner will win a $5.00 tip.

To enter all you have to do is participate in playing the Rate-O-Rama game. Since R-O-R is updated every Sunday night in order to qualify you must play the game during it's initial seven day period with Sunday evening being the cutoff period.

For each game you play you will receive a ticket for the raffle. Therefore if you play all four games in the month you will have four chances to win.

The winner will not only win the $5 prize but I will feature your Vocal Profile on Vocal + Assist on both Facebook and Discord and you will be featured in the first R-O-R game of the month after your win.

The October 2023 Rate-O-Rama Raffle Winner:


Last week we featured the Classic Rock classic: "People Are Strange" as recorded by The Doors (1967), Echo & The Bunnymen (1987), and Pentatonix (2020).

The following are the average ratings for each song as resulted from the votes:

πŸ₯‡ The Doors: 97.1

πŸ₯ˆ The Dead South: 80.4

πŸ₯‰ Echo & The Bunnymen: 79.8


The Twelfth Edition of Rate-O-Rama features three renditions of the Spiritual Folk classic: "Hallelujah."


Leonard Cohen (1984)

The Leonard Cohen penned song has become a staple on the landscape of spiritual and folk music. It has been covered by more than 300 musicians around the world. Cohen wrote up to 180 drafts of the song over a five year span before finally recording it. Initially Cohen's rendition received little attention. After his 2016 death his original recording charted around the world. Including France #1, Switzerland #2, Spain #3, UK #36, US #59, and several other countries.


Jeff Buckley (1994)

Like his father, folk music legend Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley died at a young age. Jeff drowned at the age of 30 while swimming in the Mississippi River. Tim died at age 28 from a drug overdose.

Jeff was 27 when Grace, the only album to be released during his lifetime, was released. The album suffered from poor sales but gradually caught on and within 15 years experienced platinum and multi-platinum sales throughout the world.

Like its parent album, Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" was initially largely ignored. As time progressed the song received its due recognition. In 2003 the song was ranked #259 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song was belatedly released as a single in 2007 and charted around the world reaching #1 in the US and France and #2 in Canada and the UK as well as Top 10 positions in many other countries. On April 2, 2013, it was announced that Buckley's version of the song would be inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.


Alexandra Burke (2008)

The British singer, songwriter, and actress released her cover of "Hallelujah" in December 2008 and shortly after the song appeared on her 2009 debut album Overcome. Her rendition charted at #1 in Ireland, Scotland, and the UK and charted outside of the Top 20 in five other countries. Burke's recording has sold 1.3 million copies as of August 2016, making it the biggest-selling X Factor winner's single to date.


My Thoughts


Leonard Cohen: Mr. Cohen wrote one of the most beautiful soulful songs of all-time and for that he must be recognized. However, I feel his vocal performance of the song is at times lacking the greater soul the song requires to convey its message effectively. I give Leonard Cohen 92 points.


Jeff Buckley: Jeff Buckley's rendition stirs my soul. The intimacy in his voice and stripped down musical arrangements brings tears to my soul. I feel his voice in all the deep inner parts of my emotions.

I will go so far as to say that if Jeff Buckley would have lived long enough to get five or more albums released he would have been regarded as one of the all-time greatest vocalists sitting alongside those such as Freddie Mercury, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, George Michael, and Nat King Cole. I give Jeff Buckley's rendition 100


Alexandra Burke: Alexandra's vocal performance is spectacular. She has the power and the range to effectively carry the song. But then around 2:09 the simple arrangement becomes a full blown orchestration and the song goes from intimate to bombastic as does her vocal and for me the soulfulness of the song gets lost for about 45 seconds. I give Burke's rendition 92 points.


I will be back next week with the results of this Rate-O-Rama Edition.

Last Week's Rate-O-Rama:

With Love, RHC ❀️

social mediasong reviewsrockartalt rockalternative90s music80s music

About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction for me. It takes me to places unknown that fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and a soothing of the breaks and bruises of the day.

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Comments (25)

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  • Grz Colm15 days ago

    Cohen, 75 still deserved credit even if the vocal isn’t the best Buckley 99, probably most familiar with this one I think. Loved the electric guitar.. at least I think it was.. Alexandra Burke, 45, just not my style. What a song! & congrats on top story Rick! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸ‘πŸ‘β˜ΊοΈ

  • Dana Crandell16 days ago

    I'm so sorry, but I'm going to play devil's advocate again. I can't rate any of these very highly. The problem with this song is that everyone wants to "make it their own," and it loses the sincerity and simplicity that makes it great. Buckley: 80 (Too much improv and I don't like the minor intro.) Burke: 75 (Starts out great and then goes over the top, not to mention she's drowned out by the orchestra.) Cohen: 50 (Leonard was an incredible poet/songwriter, but could never sing.) In my opinion, the best renditions of Cohen's songs were done by his friend, Jennifer Warnes:

  • Kristen Balyeat16 days ago

    Love this song- one of my FAVES! Cohen gets 80– I have memories of listening to that version as a kid- and also, he gets props because he wrote it. I agree with your sentiments- his rendition leaves much to be desired in the β€œpassion” department. Buckley gets 100β€” gorgeous, angelic voice, full of emotion. His performance of this song is beyond moving! And he’s a fave. Alexandra 79- her voice is sublime and I loved the video setup with the candles, although the rest of the video was way too much. I’m sure it meant a lot to her, as her story on XFactor, but it took away from the song, in my opinion. πŸ’«

  • These are so fun Buckley 100 Cohen 90 Burke 75

  • Jazzy 16 days ago

    Jeff Buckley hands down 100. Same album has lover you should have come over; and that man sings in a way that can’t be outdone. Even my 6 year old likes this version best. Bc it’s her fav song we’ve listened to every rendition, and she wants this one always.

  • Paul Stewart16 days ago

    I had already worked out who I was going to give the award to anyway. Jeff Buckley has always been one of my favourite singer-songwriters and I was incredibly sad when he passed away just as he was on the verge of even greater things. His version is just a standout moment on an almost flawless album, Grace, which is saying a lot. Haunting, chills and just so much control over his voice, range - it's just splendid. I appreciate that Alexandra Burke can sing, but this was an X-Factor thing and a cash cow/number one thing...and the arrangement just feels...I don't know. I appreciate that Leonard Cohen wrote the song and his voice has a different quality to Jeff's, but my favourite version is still Jeff's. There is a lot of anguish and pain there, but not quite as much as with Jeff. He really took the song and made it his own, imho. Scoring Jeff Buckley: 98 (I'll accept some room for improvement lol) Leonard Cohen: 90 Alexandra Burke: She can take a 40 and be happy about it. Well done on another interesting song battle and congrats on a fine Top Story!

  • Rachel Deeming16 days ago

    Leonard Cohen's vocal lets it down for me because it's not as melodic or tuneful as I would like but then that was not Leonard's style anymore than it was Bob Dylan's. However, the choir for the chorus lifts it up in a way that the other songs do not and so I am going to give this one 93. Has merit because it's the original too. Jeff Buckley. I love the way that this starts with the discordant notes, hinting at the melancholy to come and then Buckley's raw vocal? Sublime. The way that this is stripped down is how this song should be. It appealed to me more than the others and I have added it to a playlist and so, this gets 100 for me. Made my heart weep. Alexandra Burke's version is beautifully rendered and her vocals are awesome but I think that the song is overshadowed by her performance and the organisation of it for this version. I think the song is capable of speaking for itself and the beauty of it is in its simplicity and so to over produce it takes something from it. For this reason, I will give it 90. All good songs but Jeff Buckley does it for me.

  • Mr Ahsan16 days ago

    🌟 Beautiful renditions of "Hallelujah"! Leonard Cohen's soulful original gets a heartfelt 92, Jeff Buckley's haunting version earns a perfect 100, and Alexandra Burke's powerful delivery gets a strong 92. πŸŽΆπŸ’–

  • Cindy Calder16 days ago

    Jeff Buckley: 96. Buckley’s version is brutally raw, packed with such intense emotion, it’s palpable. Leonard Chen: 76. As the masterful songwriter and initial singer, Cohen comes in second. Another beautiful rendition. Alexandra Burke: 48. Burke’s version did not move me very much despite the beauty of the song.

  • Lamar Wiggins17 days ago

    Awesome song choice, Rick! I can easily see how all three versions can appeal to the right audience. But when they go against each other I have to agree with you on Jeff Buckley. His version was the most organic in its delivery and emotional factor. The original is not bad but seems kind of lazy. I didn't mind Alexandra's hyped-up version; she stays true to who she is. And until now, I didn't know who she was, lol. Leonard Cohen - 83 Jeff Buckley - 95 Alexandra - 90

  • Leonard Cohen: 50 the background music is awful Jeff Buckley: 95 a great classic Alexandra Burke: 75 a slightly overoptimized x-factor style rendition >90 I will actively seek to listen >80: I will enjoy if I hear it >70: I will listen to it in the background waiting for the next song to start Below 70: I will change the channel

  • Leonard Cohen: 60 Jeff Buckley: 70 Alexandra Burke: 90 Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Judey Kalchik 17 days ago

    Cohen:90 Buckley:99 Burke:93

  • Babs Iverson17 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story too!!!β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ’•

  • JBaz17 days ago

    Another hard one m y friend, you do not make these easy: I thought you might have included Rufus Wainwright as his version brought attention to the world through Shrek. 1- Jeff Buckley , my all time favorite version as he adds his own style and emotion to this piece - 100 2- Lenord Cohen - He created it and his rendition is pure soul but lacks the finesse and polish of Jeff's version. 96 3- Alexandra Burke- Her voice is golden , no doubt and she absolutely adds depth, however I found it got to commercial near the end. But still solid. -92

  • Cohen 80 Buckley 100 (Still givesme chills everytime I hear it!) Burke 70 Too much fancy suff that detracts from the starkness IMHO

  • I love your creative way of judging music, lyrics and your love of music shows here deftly

  • It's "Hallelujah". Leonard may be a little pitchy, but he wrote the damn thing! 100 to all three.

  • D. A. Ratliff17 days ago

    One of the most magnificent songs ever writtenβ€”exceptional, regardless of who sings it. Leonard Cohen - 95. His vocals do not do the song justice, but he gave us this song and deserves high marks for the passion that might not be in his voice but is certainly in his lyrics and music. Jeff Buckley - 90. Intimate and soulful rendition but lacked the depth of tone that would certainly have come as his voice matured more. Sad he was lost too soon. Alexandra Burke - 98. Incredible voice, with rich tones and soulful passion. Her cover was amazing until, as far too many excellent singers do, the song became over-arranged and orchestrated. If you have not heard k. d. lange's version from the 2010 Olympics, please give her a listen. The most incredible interpretation of this amazing song I have ever heard. You can find lang's version here:

  • Babs Iverson17 days ago

    Cohen's 90 Buckley's 100 Alexandra's 80

  • Kelsey Clarey17 days ago

    I can't help but give Leonard Cohen a full 100 points. I love his songwriting and unique way of performing in general, as well as everything he put into this song in particular. Buckley I'll give a 99. I love the instrumental arrangement and the emotion he's getting across with his vocals. Burke I'll go 90 I think. She sings it very well and her voice is lovely, but I don't think there's much that sets it apart from other versions of the song for me.

  • Hannah Moore17 days ago

    Ooh tricksy. I'm going to give Leonard 85 points. It's songwriting brilliance but it gets kind of dull. Jeff keeps me engaged without loosing feeling, I'm giving him 95, and Alexandra is technically very good but I'm not fully feeling it, I'll give her 83.

  • Donna Renee18 days ago

    I love the original because that’s what I grew up listening to, Cohen gets 100. Buckley also should get 100 really, totally different song when listened to against Cohen’s version. Ehhh not a huge fan of the last one, 80 on that.

  • Mother Combs18 days ago

    90, his voice broke too much 100, just right 93, her voice needs more power

  • I know he wrote the song and he's a genius but I've never liked the original. So Buckley 100 and X factor star 75 Leonard 50. My favorite version and everybody has there own with this song but mine is Kate Voegeles version

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