Making a powerful and controversial first statement, the single “Take Me To Church” sets the tone for Hozier’s self-titled album. The song suggests that, religion in many ways goes against the basics of human life. The artist feels that being in love is a natural thing, and perhaps the idea of love is essential to the human heart. In a recent interview, Hozier stated “There are certain doctrines that undermine a very simple aspect of humanity, a very natural aspect of humanity. To me that’s kind of what the song is about”. “Take Me To Church” is one Hozier’s most popular songs, which caused an internet craze on the realities of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Hozier’s homeland. With a soulful arrangement and an obvious influence of Christian hymns, the song almost makes you feel as if you’re in a church service. The lyrics are in opposition, and you’ll think, how brilliant. Beautiful and brilliant blasphemy.
As the album plays, hidden references to his Irish roots sneak into the experience. In “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene,” Hozier sings of a young man finding himself; even if that requires compromising his integrity. This song has very clear references to Irish author James Joyce’s Portrait of a Young Man; proving that even unique and original artistry has influences. The artist continues his homeland tribute in a duet ballad, “In a Week.” The song featuring Karen Cowley is about two lovers who spend time together in Ireland’s Wicklow Hills. In pure poetry, the lyrics describe lovers who imagine what it would be like to stay forever at that moment, to die at that moment. “And they’ll find us in a week,” as the song goes.
Hozier wrote with dark description usually found in emo-rock, but masked it with flawless blues and folk vocals and his well-played steel string guitar. In fan favorites like “From Eden,” the intensity and range of Hozier’s vocal ability becomes most evident. In songs like this, you become a fan yourself. Hozier does not leave you thirsty, as songs like “Jackie and Wilson” and “Sedated” add a little fun and edge. The album is in total a journey of a man from the forming of his ideals to loving profoundly with his original mind; still active, still uncompromised by outside forces. With a collection of varied tempo songs and serious meaning, Hozier is a testament of self-discovery and what it truly means to be free.