A Literary Guide to Hozier
Jul 27 2023
“Take me to church; I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies.” Those are iconic lines that, let’s be real, you probably sang out loud as you read them just now. These are the first two lines of the chorus to “Take Me to Church” by none other than Hozier.
So… Who’s Hozier?While the singer uses Hozier as his stage name, his full name is Andrew John Hozier-Byrne. He was born on March 17, 1990, and made his debut in 2013 when he released his EP, featuring “Take Me to Church.” Whether you’re a Hozier fan or not, odds are you will have heard the iconic lyrics to this song a few times in your life. After its release, it quickly became a rock radio hit in the U.S. and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.His third album - Unreal Unearth - which the artist has been teasing endlessly to his fans on stage and on his social media platforms, will be coming out on August 18. Additionally, his sixteenth extended play (EP) - Eat Your Young - which came out on March 17, was a massive hit that overtook TikTok with over 60,000 videos, and has been played around 78,000 times on Spotify.To put it simply: Hozier is one of the most beloved artists of the 21st century.
Hozier and BooksFor anyone who has paid attention to Hozier’s lyrics, it should not be surprising that countless novels inspired the artist.Here are a few examples:
- “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger can be considered one of Hozier’s biggest inspirations.
- Hozier references a line from “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce in his song “Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene.” Not only that, but the recurring themes from the book are some that Hozier resonated with when he first read the book.
- One of Hozier’s favorite authors is Seamus Heany - here is a fun fact: the singer has a tattoo of the poet’s last words: “Noli timere” [don’t be afraid].
- He has referenced the poem “At The Wellhead” in his song “To Noise Making (Sing).” While he chose to reference that poem in his music, his favorite poem of Heaney’s is “St Kevin and the Blackbird”.
- Hozier deeply loves Irish mythology, which he often incorporates into his music. This love, which has been further enhanced and influenced by the works of Oscar Wilde, was carried over in his song “From Eden,” where he references Wilde’s song, “Chanson.”
Hozier’s Aesthetic and How it Relates to BooksHozier’s music has a certain “vibe” to it. Encompassing themes of love, religion, politics, and sex, his music is beautiful to listen to and holds a poignant message for his listeners. As a longtime Hozier fan, I’d like to say that his aesthetic is a mix of gothic, dark academia, and faeries/folklore - give or take a few other elements. If you’d like to read more about Hozier’s themes in his music, as well as the messages he strives to convey, I strongly recommend reading the following articles and blog posts:Middle School Gothic: Hozier Self-Titled and the Whitewashing of the IrishREVIEW: POLITICAL ACTIVISM IN HOZIER’S NEWEST RELEASE ‘EAT YOUR YOUNG’Hozier on the Importance of History and New MusicThat being said, these same strange, dark, and gory “vibes” that are so often attributed to Hozier’s work have also become a literary genre of its own, and readers cannot get enough of it. Quite recently, a Fable user launched their club entitled “Hozier Book Club," described as "Mythical, whimsical, and weird; read books with the vibe of a Hozier song."So far, the club has read “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri, and they are now reading “House of Hunger” by Alexis Henderson.Here are a few more Hozier-esque books to feed your cravings:
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
- This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
- Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
- Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara
- If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
- Juniper and Thorn by Ava Reid
- Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
- A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers