The Irish singer-songwriter, born Andrew Hozier-Byrne on St. Patrick’s Day, burst onto the scene in late 2013 with the viral video for “Take Me to Church.” Van Morrison a favorite? You just might become as enamored of Hozier’s music as Boomer Revue.
Hozier songs feature breathtaking lyrics and addictive melodies, and some are socially conscious. The County Wicklow native told Fuse TV that “Take Me to Church” is about “what it is to love someone as a human being.” While at the same time commenting on how religion can oppress with such lyrics as I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies / I'll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife. (Lapsed Catholic, he's allowed.) The storyline for the video was inspired by gang attacks on gays in Russia. A 2016 video for “Cherry Wine” stars Bronx-born colleen Saoirse Ronan, currently onscreen in the acclaimed Lady Bird, as a woman who is slowly revealed to be in a physically abusive relationship.
In her five-star review of the self-titled debut album, Helen Brown in The Telegraph praises Hozier’s soulful voice and likens his mixing of “tormented blues with sunny R&B” to that of Morrison. She believes a diverse background both as a pub rocker and choral-group member unites in his music—“gospel choirs hum and swell tenderly beneath the rougher edges of his riffs. They add mature, universal gravitas to…an intense, youthful lyrical tangling of religion and romantic obsession.” Brown’s not kidding about that last bit, the powerful chorus of “Work Song” is pure Gothic romanticism:
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
Selected videos are linked to YouTube below (enlarge screen at site for enhanced viewing), followed by edited comments from those who say it far better than we can. All songs composed by Hozier, save for “Sweet Thing.” Asked by a radio station to write about five essential Van Morrison tracks, Hozier noted of this gem, his first selection, “There are few songs I can point to that exhibit that singular, natural, wild kind of joy that eludes us for most of our lives.”
This guy's songs are poems. So deep and beautiful.
Thank god I'm on birth control, because this video would have made me pregnant.
“TAKE ME TO CHURCH”
Be warned, this video has violent and disturbing imagery. For audio only, click on second link.
“SWEET THING” (live)
Click on screen above or www.youtube.com
One of the most beautiful songs to come out in years. This will pass the test of time.
I really like the lines, idealism sits in prison, chivalry fell on its sword / innocence died screaming, honey ask me I should know.
“ANGEL OF SMALL DEATH & THE CODEINE SCENE" (live)
Live or recorded, he still sounds like a god.
I love the pulse, the way it fluctuates between that fast beat and slow, almost hypnotizing moments.
“JACKIE AND WILSON”
He is the most underrated artist.
Hozier, I'm fine with naming our children Jackie and Wilson, as long as they have your hair.
“CHERRY WINE ”
I appreciate that the lyrics are about a man being abused by his girlfriend and the video is a woman being abused by her boyfriend. It really shows how abuse…isn't just specific to one gender.
Music in its purest form <3