Andrew Byrne, more commonly known as Hozier, is an irish singer/songwriter who captivated the world with his hit track ‘Take me To Church’. ‘Take Me To Church’, the first track on his 2014 self titled album ‘Hozier’, is a beautifully dark ballad discussing the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, and their antipathy towards homosexuality. This song was released in 2014, and was accompanied by an equally though-provoking music video.
Although Hozier received the most fame and acclaim for ‘Take Me To Church’, the rest of his 2014 album provides a cornucopia of lyrically beautiful images that are worth discussing.
According to a Rolling stones Magazine article, Hozier grew up listening to jazz, and blues, and said he “developed a fascination with the roots of African-American music, [and] loves Muddy Waters and Nina Simone.” Hozier seems to pull from a large musical cannon while creating his own music, switching from soulful folk ballads with few instruments, to catchy up-beat blues-rock tracks, all on the same album. Stylistically, Hozier’s album varies greatly from track to track, but his rich honey drenched voice remains constant throughout all his songs.
Here are a few of my favorite hauntingly beautiful lyrics from Hozier’s 2014 ‘Hozier’ Album.
As soon as Hozier belts out his first “Babe…” in ‘From Eden’ i’m hooked. His voice is beautiful and smooth, not overpowering, but complementing the other instruments that make up this soulful folk song. His verses are composed of opposing characteristics and phrases:
“Babe, there’s something tragic about you / Something so magic about you / Don’t you agree? / Babe, there’s something lonesome about you / Something so wholesome about you / Get closer to me”
“Babe, there’s something wretched about this / Something so precious about this / Where to begin? / Babe, there’s something broken about this / But I might be hoping about this / Oh, what a sin”
These contradictory statements can be confusing at first, yet weirdly touching. Realizing that someone is not perfect, or that something is not perfect, yet still finding beauty and meaning in that person or thing is a comforting concept. Hozier seems to be musing about how something so traditionally wrong can be so right, as seen in his music video above. In his chorus Hozier imprisons idealism, and kills Chivalry and innocence, stripping this relationship of stereotypical societal pressures. Without these, Hozier is left with someone who feels as familiar with as his old self, allowing him to ask the question: “how can something that feels so right be so wrong?”
“Honey you’re familiar, like my mirror years ago / Idealism sits in prison, chivalry fell on its sword / Innocence died screaming, honey ask me I should know / I slithered here from Eden, just to sit outside your door”
‘In a Week’
‘In a Week’, a duet with Karen Cowley, is one of Hozier’s darker ballads. The songs main concept is obtaining eternal love in the form of death. ‘In a Week’ contains fairly disturbing images of rotting corpses, yet somehow is still beautifully romantic.
“I have never known peace like the damp grass that yields to me / I have never known hunger like these insects that feast on me / A thousand teeth and yours among them, I know / Our hungers appeased, our heart beats becoming slow”
Hozier is often labeled an atheist, because of his criticism of the Catholic church on ‘Take me To Church’, but in a Rolling Stones Article he states that this is not necessarily true because atheists believe that there is no afterlife. Hozier states: “I’m very comfortable not knowing [about an afterlife]. I think searching for it is quite absurd. I think discussions about it are equally absurd. It’s a tough one, but I’m very, very comfortable just not knowing”. This song deals a great deal with the afterlife, something that is highly debated by many people. Hozier uses the word ‘home’ to describe the afterlife, an eternal love death has given this couple.
“And they’d find us in a week / When the weather gets hot / After the insects have made their claim / I’ll be home with you, I’ll be home with you”
‘In a Week’ is Hozier’s unique spin on the traditional love song. The couple portrayed in this song seem to have such a deep love that they are leaving their bodies to die on earth, and continuing on together in some sort of afterlife. Death is not a feared subject, like it normally would be, but instead a welcomed concept, one that grants them an eternity together.
‘Someone New’ is Hozier’s most pop-esque song. This song can be interpreted in many different ways, whether it be falling in, or falling out of love, Hozier aptly states that:
“Would things be easier if there was a right way? / Honey, there is no right way”
Hozier seems to be equally confused with the perils of love. This song does not attempt to answer any big questions about love and relationships, but rather states that there is no secret formula, a frustrating truth everyone must accept.
“When, my, time comes around / Lay me gently in the cold dark earth / No grave can hold my body down /I’ll crawl home to her”
-Hozier, ‘Work Song’
“Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips / We should just kiss like real people do”
-Hozier, ‘Like Real People Do’
“I’ve no language left to sing / All I do is crave to her / Breaking if I try convey it / The broken love I make to her”
-Hozier, ‘Foreigner’s God
“She blows out of nowhere, Roman candle of the wild / Laughing her way through my feeble disguise / No other version of me I would rather be tonight / Lord, she found me just in time”
-Hozier, ‘Jackie and Wilson’