Written by: Madison Bigelow
When it comes to music, I’m a big fan of songs that pair moody instrumentals with clever, thought-provoking lyrics; I want to be immersed completely in the narrative of a song. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I instantly fell in love with Hozier’s music from first listen. Best known as the singer of “Take Me to Church,” Hozier is a Irish singer-songwriter that has produced two studio albums to date.
For those of you who may not have heard, Hozier is releasing a much anticipated EP at the end of the month. While he’s announced and postponed the release of new music multiple times these past few years, it seems like this time, it’s for real.
Drawing upon a wide variety of musical genres, like Soul, Folk, American Blues, and Alternative Rock, Hozier’s music has garnered him a cult following. His songs are earthy (you’ll see what I mean in a moment)– they feel intimate and cozy, and somehow voice the unspeakables of the human condition. As he reconciles with themes of love, death, religion, political strife, and the natural world, he’s able to expertly intertwine his musical influences, mythological allusions, and soothing vocals to produce songs you just can’t stop listening to.
As you can tell, I’m really looking forward to his new music. So, in honor of his upcoming release, here are some of my favorites from his past albums that I’ve been playing on repeat.
“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”
“At its core, this song is about how love lends strength and perseverance in the toughest of conditions. The subject of the song, after a long day, yearns to return home to his lover. Their relationship, which is implied to be of biblical proportion, rivals the unsurpassable, like God or death itself.”
Would That I
“True that love in withdrawal was the weepin’ of me / That the sound of the saw must be known by the tree / Must be felled for to fight the cold / Fretted fire but that was long ago”
In ‘Would That I,’ past loves of the singer are compared to the likeness of a large, canopying willow tree. While he initially takes refuge in the memories of these relationships, underneath the willow tree, he comes to recognize that he must release (or ‘fell’) these past feelings in order to move past them. In other words, he considers love as something transformative; love is enduring in its many forms, even if a relationship has seemingly ended.
“And that day that we’ll watch the death of the sun / That the cloud and the cold and those jeans you have on / And you’ll gaze unafraid as they sob from the city roofs”
This song, characterized by its apocalyptic imagery, pits the dystopian idea of the end of the world against a tender relationship between two people that love each other. While this may be a commentary on environmental degradation or the political state of the world today, either way, Hozier prompts his listener to temporarily shift their focus from a devastating inevitability to focus on joy. Finding humor and love in destruction and chaos, really, is a theme that permeates the entire body of his work.
I turn to Hozier whenever I want to be moved by music, and when I want to be told that everything is going to turn out okay. As a writer, his poetic lyricism has been a big inspiration to me since I began listening to him, and I’m fascinated by the way he sees the world. While I’m sure it will be, here’s to hoping that his next release will be as great as his last!