Last night’s 12-12-12 Concert may have been way too many hours long, but there are really only two different short segments people are reacting to this morning: Paul McCartney and Nirvana’s collaboration and Adam Sandler’s cover of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah”. Oddly, almost everyone seems to think the mash-up was utterly bizarre, thoroughly fascinating and kind of awesome. Since my opinion is the same, there’s really no point in discussing it. The Sandler cover, on the other hand, has produced two very different responses, one of which I firmly stand behind.
Here's a look at the comedian's rendition, in case you haven't seen it or would like to see it again...
There are some people out there who think what Sandler did last night was good-natured, funny and appropriate, while there are others who think he stupidly traipsed all over a great song. As someone who absolutely adores “Hallelujah” and considers it a top five song ever, I should probably fall in the latter camp. I should probably be annoyed Sandler had the balls to change all the words to one of the all-time classic recordings, but I don’t. I firmly support what Adam Sandler did last night, and I would like to explain to you why.
Apart from McCartney/ Nirvana and a few other weird collaborations that could have gone either way, the majority of last night’s performers walked onto the stage knowing they would crush. They walked out with an arsenal of hit songs to choose from that people have been cheering for decades. Sandler could have taken the safe route like so many other acts and played “Red Hooded Sweatshirt” or “The Hanukkah Song”. Instead, he worked on an entirely new track for the occasion, and judging by crowd noise and audience reaction shots, he absolutely won the room. People were more into his song than they were ninety percent of the other performers who were playing tracks they’ve been doing for years. In addition, the response on Twitter was far more positive than negative with many Sandler haters saying it was the funniest he’d been in more than a decade.
“Hallelujah” is not too sacred to cover or play around with. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly covered songs ever recorded, and truth be told, an overwhelming majority of the covers that try to do the song justice are godawful. By trying to be emotional and singing it in the same style, they only prove how inferior they are to the original or the Jeff Buckley version. Yet, every single singing competition, people still go there, and no one ever freaks out about how sacrilegious or wrong it is. Call me crazy, but I’d actually rather see someone change the words and use the song to make thousands of people inside Madison Square Garden smile for a good cause than do an inferior rendition to advance their own career, even if it sticks to the spirit of the recording.
If you don’t like Sandler’s cover of “Hallelujah”, I understand and I see where you’re coming from, but for the love of Superstorm Sandy, stop acting like he’s an asshole for going out on a limb and covering it. He’s not, and from almost any angle, what he did last night has to be considered a success.