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Music / Hozier

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Hozier (real name Andrew Hozier-Byrne, born 17 March 1990) is an Irish musician and singer songwriter. In 2013 he released an EP Take Me To Church (which also featured "Like Real People Do", "Angel of Small Death and The Codeine Scene" and a live version of the song "Cherry Wine") "Take Me to Church" became a viral hit on YouTube.

He released his self-titled album (Hozier) in September 2014. After a five year hiatus, he released his second album (Wasteland, Baby!) in March 2019.

Hozier and his music provide examples of the following tropes:

  • The Anti-Nihilist: "No Plan" is about how nothing in life matters because there is no grand design, so why not fall in love.
  • Badass Baritone: His incredibly deep voice is instantly recognizable.
  • The Big Guy: He's 6"5 and is affectionately referred to as "the big friendly giant" by fans.
  • The Cameo: Katie McGrath is the star of the "From Eden" music video.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: It's exaggerated by his fans because it's fun, but he's definitely on a different wavelength than most folks.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has quite a sharp sense of humor as any interview or a look at his Twitter profile can attest.
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  • Domestic Abuse: "Cherry Wine" is about this.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Possibly subverted in "Cherry Wine" if you interpret the song as being about this. The speaker's girlfriend is heavily implied to be abusing him emotionally and physically, but he still describes the relationship as being ideal. However, this is actually Truth in Television for many people in abusive relationships.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The music video for "Take Me to Church": It revolves around a gay couple whose love is destroyed by a group of violent homophobes once their sexuality is found out. Their house is ransacked, one of the men is dragged to a fire, a box the couple shared is thrown into the fire, and the other man arrives at the scene just as his lover is being killed by the group.
    • "Cherry Wine" is the last song on his self-titled album which features a man being emotionally and physically abused by his girlfriend, but he can never bring himself to leave her because he loves her.
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  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: "It Will Come Back," referring to the singer and his love like one would a stray animal.
  • Elemental Motifs: Fire. The narrator of "Arsonist's Lullaby" has a life-long fascination with fire. In his second album, he makes references to fire in several songs, including "No Plan", "Nobody", and "Wasteland, Baby". "Would That I" compares his new lover to a ranging fire that burns down several trees, which represent his former lovers.
  • Gay Aesop: The music video for "Take Me to Church" features one.
  • Hypocrite: The speaker's girlfriend in "Cherry Wine," who is extremely jealous despite the fact that she is cheating on him.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Kind of unavoidable given that he's 6'5. Just look at him performing next to Mavis Staples (who is only five feet even, making her nearly a foot and a half shorter).
  • Last-Name Basis: "Hozier" isn't a stage name, it's (one part of) his last name.
  • Love Is Like Religion:
    • "Take Me to Church" uses religious imagery throughout as the singer expresses wanting to worship his beloved instead of the church that rejected their love, with a prechorus of repeated amens.
    • In "Foreigner's God", the singer expresses his love for a woman who does not conform to his society's edicts as "Screaming the name of a foreigner's god".
  • Love Martyr: The speaker in "Cherry Wine" is this as he tolerates his girlfriend's jealousy, anger and infidelity (and possibly physical abuse. )
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Cherry Wine" has a somewhat somber tone to it, but sounds like a typical love song... until you listen to the lyrics, which describe a relationship that sounds disturbingly close to Domestic Abuse.
    • "In a Week" is a pretty sounding song about a couple being together. But when one examines the lyrics, they'll realize it's rather non ambiguously about two people being Together in Death and their bodies decomposing and being eaten by animals.
    • "Shrike" is a very laid-back, romantic-sounding song, but it's also about the shrike, a bird who impales its prey on thorns. Hozier makes several clear references to that practice.
  • Mercy Kill: "In the Woods Somewhere". That poor fox...
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Work Song," which is more about the genre/tone than anything in the lyrics.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: "In the Woods Somewhere". The speaker found...something in the woods.
  • Protest Song:
    • "Nina Cried Power" is arguably one, referencing historical singers of protest songs (among them Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, and Marvin Gaye) in a song about oppression.
    • "Jackboot Jump" and "But the Wages" are songs protesting, respectively, fascism rising as a response to the rise of antifascism, and the fact that wages aren't increasing despite increased cost of living.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Almost (Sweet Music)" weaves in references to The Supremes, Duke Ellington, Chet Baker note , and over a dozen classic jazz songs.
    • "Someone New" references Aretha Franklin's "I Say a Little Prayer."
  • Soprano and Gravel: A Gender Flipped version in "Nina Cried Power", with Mavis Staples as the gravel. Maybe "Baritone and Gravel?"
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: The promotional materials and album cover for Wasteland, Baby! heavily feature images and clips of Hozier in a flooded room, including some where he floats freely (white shirt and iconic long hair spreading out around him). Head photographer Jon Hozier-Byrne (Hozier's brother) describes the thought process behind the imagery:
    There's a great deal of doom and gloom enjoyed within the album, and an end of times-ness to it, so I think the shoot and what we're aiming for here reflects some of that. It actually reflects one or two of the lyrical themes as well in one or two numbers, which is nice.
  • Together in Death: "In a Week" has a surprisingly graphic version of this.
  • Tsundere: The speaker in "Cherry Wine" assumes his girlfriend is this while his descriptions of her make her sound much more like a Domestic Abuser.
  • Uncommon Time: "From Eden" is in 5/4.
  • Villain Song: "Arsonist's Lullaby" tells the story of a guy who simply is driven to set things on fire and how he got to be that way, as described from his own perspective. It may not be right, but he acknowledges that it's just who he is. As the chorus explains:
    "All you have is your fire
    And the place you need to reach
    Don't you ever tame your demons
    But always keep them on a leash"