Song You Need to Know: Haim’s Cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘If It Be Your Will’

It was mildly confusing when Haim released an original song titled “Hallelujah” on Monday, but now they’ve officially dropped a Leonard Cohen cover — a rendition “If It Be Your Will,” included on the new Hanukkah+ album.

The final breath to 1984’s Various Positions, “If It Be Your Will” is an ethereal track that features Jennifer Warnes on backing vocals. “If it be your will/That I speak no more/And my voice be still/As it was before,” Cohen sings over faint acoustic guitar. “I will speak no more/I shall abide until/I am spoken for.”

Cohen would keep “If It Be Your Will” in his setlist up until his final tour in 2013, but he’d have the Webb Sisters perform the track. Like many of the late singer’s songs, “If It Be Your Will” has been covered numerous times, most notably Anohni’s heart-wrenching rendition that was included in the 2005 film Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. 

That being said, did Haim really need to cover this song? What could a sister trio of California millennials possibly offer to the track that hasn’t already been done before? Turns out, a lot: the Haim version, produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, is a devastatingly gorgeous update on the classic. With shimmering synths and nylon guitar, Danielle Haim’s vocals echo like the walls inside a sanctuary — serene, yet so incredibly somber you seek refuge. “From this broken hill/All your praises they shall ring,” she stirs. “If it be your will/To let me sing.”

It’s fitting that Haim’s cover was released the same day as Cohen’s posthumous LP Thanks for the Dance. Three years after his death, his legacy lives on.

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