Pentatonix Sings ‘Hallelujah’ for Christmas (VIDEO)

Pentatonix Sings ‘Hallelujah’ for Christmas (VIDEO) October 25, 2016

Pentatonix-Hallelujah.pngIf anything redeems reality TV, it could be the a cappella group Pentatonix, which came together for the NBC vocal-competition show “The Sing-Off,” and went on to win and become a musical phenomenon in its own right.

Pentatonix is a secular group, but it does make a beautiful noise unto the Lord each Christmastime. As in years past, the 2016 iteration of its holiday offering, called “A Pentatonix Christmas,” is a mix of traditional favorites, with a few ringers thrown in.

Along with “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “Coventry Carol” (which is particularly lovely) is Leonard Cohen’s haunting and ubiquitous “Hallelujah,” the subject of the first official video from the album.

It’s not a Christmas song or even precisely a religious song — despite several Old Testament references, to King David in particular — but it’s not exactly a secular song either. It lies in the gray area in which its exact spirituality is open to interpretation.

“Hallelujah” also frequently performed, with its original lyrics and, recently, with “Christianized” ones. But just when you think it’s lost its power, here comes Pentatonix to strip it back to its stark origins:

Pentatonix is (from left in the picture at top): Avi Kaplan, Mitch Grassi (who still looks shockingly thin to me compared to the “Sing Off” days — Mitch, I worry!), Scott Hoying, Kirstin Maldonado and Kevin Olusola.

Also, reported today (Oct. 25) at Billboard is news that Pentatonix will sing “Weekend Go,” the opening theme song for NFL Thursday Night Football when it lands on NBC, starting Nov. 17, with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints.

The group said in a statement they “feel so honored” to be working with the NFL. They released a new album, “A Pentatonix Christmas,” last week.

As for “Hallelujah,” it still fascinates. Here’s an excerpt from a story on the song from CBS News:

The fascinating and complex story of how “Hallelujah” — a song whose themes touch on love, sex, religion, longing and regret — went from just another album track to now-legendary status is told in a new book by Alan Light titled “The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”” (published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is part of CBS Corporation). It analyzes the song and features interviews with those involved in “Hallelujah’s” original recording and the artists who have recorded their cover versions.

The inspiration for “The Holy or The Broken” for Light, who has written for Rolling Stone and The New York Times, came when he attended a service at a synagogue during Yom Kippur. “As kind of a climactic moment of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar,” Light tells, “the choir in the synagogue…came out and sang ‘Hallelujah.’ Everybody knew this song, everybody reacted to it, a lot of people were crying. I just started to think, ‘Wow, this song is really in a different place now if it’s the kind of song that gets used for a moment like this,’ and started thinking about it.”

Image: Courtesy Pentatonix

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