Some song lyrics,

“She tied you to a kitchen chair. She broke your throne and she cut your hair”

And this bit:

“But all I’ve ever learned from love, was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you”

I love my local radio station. They play songs from the 40’s to somewhere in the middle 70’s, with a selection of newer songs thrown into the mix.

They did irk me somewhat when they started playing Christmas carols, that cycled a list of regulars every few hours or so, in the middle of November …

… November? …

Just on principle I switched to CBC. (Canada’s version of Australia’s ABC, or England’s BBC). Along came December and I forgave them.

Today is washing day. I’m up and down the elevator and stairs to the laundry room in the basement. (we live on the third floor – down the stairs, and up in the elevator – it’s easier on the much surgery-ed Widdershins knee that way) I’m also busy on the first draft of a new story, so the radio, caroling along, is very much in the background of my consciousness.

Suddenly … I hear this song with the lyrics I copied at the top of this post. It’s a beautiful song by one of my favourite singers. Two hours later I hear it again. Just like the carols.

Curious, I think to myself. Curious says, ‘meh’ and sends me back to work. But the song bugs me, in a good way, ‘cos I like it, then I remember that I’ve been hearing it a whole lot since about … hm-m? … the middle of November.

Then it hits me! Someone thinks it’s a Christmas carol! … just because it has the word ‘hallelujah’ in it!

Have you guessed what it is? Here’s another clue. It was written by Leonard Cohen.

Then another thought hits me. What if the person who’s creating the playlist knows what the song is about and knows that most folk would assume that it’s a carol (because of the ‘hallelujah’ thing, and decides to play it anyway?

How subversive is that?

Art has always been used to send messages that Emperors, Kings and Queens, despots, Prime Ministers, Presidents, and bureaucrats, don’t want the masses to know.

In the 60’s, the folk trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary released a seemingly innocent song called, ‘I Dig Rock-n-Roll Music’, with the very telling lyric, “But if I really say it, the radio won’t play it, unless I lay it between the lines.” – Subversive!

My song is ‘Hallelujah’, sung by k.d.lang – 2005 Juno Awards

and …


“Look. Art knows no prejudice, art knows no boundaries, art doesn’t really have judgement in it’s purest form. So just go, just go”k. d. lang 


12 comments on “Subversive

  1. Hahaha…Reminds me of when a couple of Lawrence Welk singers sang “One toke over the line.” I watched that often with my parents. Honed my sarcasm on it. But, being so sweet and innocent back then, I doubt I would’ve gotten the song’s content if I’d heard them singing. the joys of youtube. Happy Christmas, Widdershins!


  2. Nisha says:

    I never heard K.D Lang’s version of this song before, but how awesome is this! So funny people think its a Christmas song. There’s nothing Christmas-y about it! Lol 😛


  3. jannatwrites says:

    The dog is hilarious. “…then it hits me…” ha, ha, ha!

    For the last couple years, the radio kept playing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (not sure if that’s the proper title) all through the holidays. That one bugged me in a bad way because it’s not a Christmas song at all. Sure, it’s a winter song, but he’s just trying to get his paws on the girl. Ick.


  4. s.p.bowers says:

    Love that song. I’d never heard the k.d. lang version. Love it. Thanks. I never would have thought someone could mistake that for a Christmas song. Hilarious.


    • Widdershins says:

      Glad you loved it. k.d. is spectacular … did’ja love her bare feets?

      Either someone read my post or someone at the station caught on, cos I haven’t heard it for a while now. Shame really, a little subversion is good for the spirit.


  5. londonmabel says:

    Well, I’ve never heard anyone think it’s a carol! Esp these days when it’s become sooooo popular that there’s a version for every generation, and every musical taste (it’s been done on Glee… need I say more? Ahhhh!)


  6. Rob Hamm says:

    Heh! Subversion is tasty, and Hallelujah is one of my favorite songs not just to listen to, but to sing and play (I play it on the guitar instead of the piano, though). Although K.D. Lang is awesome, I have to admit that the Rufus Wainright cover is my favorite (although most of my friends swear by the Jeff Buckley version–and I don’t think I know anyone who prefers the original Cohen version… Poor Leonard.), but I’ve never heard a version of it that I didn’t like. There are some songs that I classify as simply transcendent.


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