Haim have a Leonard Cohen cover and a track called “Hallelujah” out this week, but they’re not the same song. For the Hannukah+ compilation, a tie-in with Yo La Tengo’s annual Hannukah concerts, Haim are covering Cohen’s “If It Be Your Will.” That comp is out Friday. Meanwhile, Haim’s “Hallulejah” is a new original out now.
“Hallelujah” is a dip into tender singer-songwriter fare, produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, Rostam, and Danielle Haim. In a note posted to Twitter, Alana Haim explained that her verse on the song is a tribute to her late best friend, who died in a car accident when she was 20:
We have a song called hallelujah coming out on Monday. It’s a song about family, love, loss, and being thankful for it all. It’s hard to talk about my verse on the song but I wanted to open about it so here i go…
I went through a really hard time when I was 20. I woke up on a hazy October morning to find out my best friend, Sammi Kane Kraft, had passed away in a tragic car accident. It was a loss that changed my life forever. Sammi was my everything, and coming to terms with the fact that she wasn’t there, that i couldn’t call her, i couldn’t hug her, I would never see her bright smile and sparkling eyes ever again broke me.
Its strange but i started thinking about all the milestones in my life that she would never be a part — like us wanting to celebrate our 21st birthdays in Vegas, or planning all the festivals we wanted to go to around the world, or knowing that when i walk down the aisle at some point she won’t be standing next to me as my maid honor.
I had always wanted to pay tribute to her in some way and i could never put how important she was into words. It felt like there were no words in the dictionary to encapsulate how special she was. Losing her put a lot things into perspective for me. I was so lucky to have my sisters at this time in my life. There was a point where they didn’t know what to do or say or how to help and them just being there as a shoulder to cry on or as an ear to talk to got me to slowly recover.
I’m not the same, I’ll never be the same. The me before took love, friends and family for granted. Now there won’t be a day that goes by where i don’t tell everyone i love how special they are to me. Though I miss her everyday I know she’s still here sending me little messages, little signs everywhere i go. I always look up and go I hear ya Sammi Sam! Love love love love love you too. Hallelujah comes out Monday and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.
In a separate note Sunday, Este Haim dedicated “Hallelujah” to anyone battling chronic illness:
our new song hallelujah comes out tomorrow. to me it’s a song about relying on the people around you and reflecting on how different life could be if those people weren’t around. i wrote my verse a few days after i’d gotten some pretty terrible news from my endocrinologist. around that time i wasn’t paying attention to my health and ignoring warning signs a bigger issue than just my type 1 diabetes. it’s an easy trap to fall into. Some diabetics go through what doctors call “diabetic burnout” where the patient essentially stops taking care themselves because it becomes too stressful, too time consuming, too frustrating to deal with day in and day out. at the time i was feeling like type 1 diabetes was a 24 hour job that i wasn’t allowed to clock out .
i came home from the doctor super upset and frustrated and the only two people i felt comfortable enough to talk about it with were danielle and alana. sometimes it feels like they’re the only two people that truly understand me and support me when i feel like giving up. they’ve been with me everyday supporting me and cheering me on since i was diagnosed at 14 years old. and i don’t know what i would do without them always reminding me when my blood sugar is taking it’s toll on me that i’m “more than my highs and lows, you got this E”. this song is for anyone struggling with chronic illness and the people around us who we truly rely on for help and guidance.