Sinner Turned Saint
Review on Hozier's "Take Me to Church"
Hozier - Take Me To Church
One of the most interesting mainstream artists to keep an eye on this year is Hozier. For anyone interested in the alternative, blues genre of music, his chart-topping single “Take Me to Church” showcases his ghostly quality of sound and haunting voice. He stands out among other mainstream artists with not only his take on the blues genre but also the subjects of his music.
Andrew Hozier-Byrne, better known as simply “Hozier,” has risen to fame after being discovered on YouTube. Although he has been writing and composing his own music since the age of 15 as an Irish born citizen, he has recently become popular in the US. He became even more popular after his appearance as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live (SNL) when Bill Hader hosted. While the second track on his CD, “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene,” has a more upbeat, catchy melody, it also shares his soulful crooning supported by a Southern-style chorus and showcases his instrumental ability as a musician.
“Take Me to Church” directly addresses gay rights and social perception of homosexual relationships. The music video for this song makes the topic clearer and the lyrics match more obviously. Hozier compares his lover to a religious outcast as seen in the following lyrics: “Every Sunday’s getting bleak/a fresh poison each week/We were born sick/you heard them say.” In presenting romance in a morbid yet realistic reminder for listeners, Hozier croons painfully enough for listeners to feel forced to listen.
The fact that this song addresses a seemingly controversial yet common discussion topic of sexuality and homosexual romance. Furthermore, he does so discreetly enough that listeners have to listen to this song several times to truly recognize that message. Something Hozier has been criticized for is that he overly relies on acoustic instruments. Almost all tracks on his album are driven by his voice and an acoustic guitar, showing little musical versatility. Nevertheless, Rolling Stone compares Hozier to Van Morrison and the Black Keys in terms of his vocals and instrumentals. He cites Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song, “Same Love,” for inspiration for his single along with witnessing a video on LGBT circumstances in places such as Russia and Uganda.
While Rolling Stone gave Hozier’s album 3 ½ stars out of 5, Hozier deserves at least a 4 for his originality of voice, lyrics, and melody. Despite links to other artists and songs, his music is in a league of its own.