Music/Popular Culture


There is no good way to die, especially when you’re only 21.

I’m like the rest of you: before yesterday, I’d never heard of Nodar Kumaritashvili. But something about his fatal crash in Vancouver hit me just so, at once blindsiding a place inside me where the beauty of life, the exhilaration of competition, the glory of human achievement, the searing pain of sudden death, and the dull ache of a lost lifetime of opportunity all improbably intersect.

There is no good way to die when you’re 21. But if you have to go at such a young age, I suppose the best way would be quickly, while doing the thing you love.

And later, to have the world bow its head for you for a few seconds. Finally, to have KD Lang offer up a heartbreaking rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in benediction…

Rest in Peace.

14 replies »

  1. OUTSTANDING!!!!! I can’t get the song out of my Head I will remember this song forever This should be released as a single. KD Lang should win a Grammy for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hard to believe this didn’t win a Grammy for her when she did it on Hymns of the 49th Parallel in 2004, but I believe she did win a Juno in Canada. See her performance here – it’s equally stunning.

  2. I find it funny that everyone who covers this song now (Including Cohen live) actually mimics the Jeff Buckley version (who actually was inspired by John Cales version). The original recording is more like a waltz. I don’t think anyone’s come close to Buckley’s magic with this song. I bet in 20 years this will be the most covered song of all time.

    • D: It’s true that most of what you hear now sounds more like Buckley than the original, and that’s a huge mark in Buckley’s favor. I’m still not sure I think that makes his version the best, per se, but I fully understand why so many people do.

  3. Nicely put as always, Sam. It’s disturbing how much the crash footage has been re-played though. Do they really need to show it over and over?

    Anyway, that’s our Kathryn Dawn. And our Mr. Cohen. Brilliant blending of Canuck talent. I appreciated hearing Joni Mitchell in the prairies segment. Age and life has rendered her voice even more haunting.