Sunday, 14 December 2008

Don't let Simon Cowell steal Christmas...

.. with the cynical cover of the Leonard Cohen classic 'Hallelujah'. As of Monday the 17th, the winner of the ITV karaoke show X-Factor will release a cover of the aforementioned song as part of the annual strategy to convert the success of the show into the sale of musical units. Now, I'm sure Cohen isn't too bothered about his song being transformed into a highly polished and compressed equivalent of a musical turd by this year's winner, Alexandra Burke, after all there are royalties at stake here. However, there already exists a quintessential cover of the track by the deceased legend, Jeff Buckley - listen to it in full here.

I suggest that if you are going to buy the Hallelujah track this Christmas, you buy the Buckley version, which is sublime. Cohen will get the royalties from this track too so it's a win-win situation for him (and he needs it after his ex-manager stole about £5 million from him - good job he converted to Buddhism to transcend the confines of the material world).

There's a live version of the Buckley version here. Sony won't let the official video be embeddable over on YouTube:

I know I'm not alone in deploring the cynical attempt to bag the Christmas number 1 as there have been numerous Facebook groups setup. It's a fairly standard marketing ploy used by the show's creators over the past 5 years. Some feature petitions against the stunt which are going to achieve little. One group has decided to help do something affirmative by linking to a few online shops where you can purchase the Buckley version, which I will attempt to improve upon here:

7digital - £0.89 for the 4 min 15 sec abridged version in high quality 320kbps mp3 format

Tunetribe - £0.49 for the 6 min 52 sec full album version in WMA format, loaded with DRM (no good for iPod/iPhone owners)

iTunes - £0.79 for the 6 min 52 sec full album version in AAC format, also protected with DRM (but iPod friendly-ish), encoded at 128 kbps.

Amazon - £0.79 for the 6 min 52 sec full album version in 256 kbps mp3 format with no DRM restrictions.

Play - £0.65 for the 6 min 52 sec full album version in high quality 320 kbps mp3 format

HMV - £0.69 for the 6 min 52 sec full album version in high quality 320 kbps mp3 format

Go on, do yourself a favour and discover a wonderful version of the song. Don't forget to wait until Monday the 15th to buy it in order for it to be chart eligible.

I'm sure Alexandra Burke can sing and I wish her all the best for the future, I just object to the Cowell machine doing this kind of thing year after year. Stop Cowell being the Grinch this year!

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