About the Project

Research Topic

Through Hozier’s lyrics on his self-titled album “Hozier”, we will look at the way he uses religious analogies and literary devices in his lyrics to talk about his relationships with women, himself, and religion.

Methods and Analyzation

We started this project by converting each lyric into an XML file; in each file, we broke the song down into elements beginning at song, and then descending to lyrics, verse, stanza, chorus, line, etc.

After we had the XML files properly structured, we began the markup process of the lyrics. Our markup includes the elements “religiousAction”, “religiousPlace”, “religiousConcept”, “religiousReference”, “religiousFigure”, and “litDevice”. We chose these elements because we decided they would best be able to help us analyze how Hozier’s view of religion impacts his personal relationships and how he views the world. By tagging literary devices, we also were able to analyze his relationships, especially with women.

Hozier's debut album was chosen for this project because it featured his more prominent hit "Take Me to Church", which deals directly with his relationship with religion. The reason religion is the focus of this project is because the topic is incredibly complicated for so many people, and Hozier explores this at length in his album in a way that is unique and poetic. Hozier's indepth look at religion, particularly Catholicism, in his album allows for listeners to get a feel for the impact that it's had on nearly every aspect of his life. The hope of the project was to analyze Hozier's relationship with religion and not only gain a better understanding of religion in society as a whole.

It was also important for us that we have a decent knowledge of Hozier, his background as a musician, and his background with religion - especially Christianity. See below for some of our most important research.

Who is Hozier?


Andrew Hozier-Byrne, known professionally as Hozier, is a 31-year-old Irish musician known for his unique music style. Hozier’s songs consist of a mix of blues, gospel, and soul music that has led him to international fame. He is most well-known for his song “Take Me to Church”, which peaked at 100 on the U.S. Billboard charts. To date, he has released two full-length albums: “Hozier” and “Wasteland, Baby!”. Prior to his solo success, he toured with an Irish choral group known as Anuna.

Hozier with guitar

Hozier is a self-taught guitar player and songwriter. In an interview, he said that he tries to record more from his home to create a sound that he feels closer to. He says he likes to start with some sort of core feeling or a few lines that convey a message; from there, he loosely plays with ideas and melodies until he finds what he likes. He describes his writing style as simple and straightforward; “I try not to lean too much on verbose phrases, attempting to cut right to the heart of the sentiment.”

Hozier and Religion

Religion has been a source of frustration for Hozier. He grew up Catholic, but found the church very hypocritical. He channeled this anger into his breakout hit “Take Me to Church’. Despite his frustrations, he says that he wouldn’t label himself as an atheist, and is comfortable not knowing much about higher powers. In an interview with Ireland’s National Public Service Radio, Hozier says that he has strong opinions regarding the Catholic church and says that the effects of religion are certainly generational. He goes on to say that the damage the church has done to Ireland is “irreparable”, and he believes faith as a whole is an absurd concept.


  1. Behind Hozier's Unlikely Rise
  2. Hozier Speaks About The Church and Sex (YouTube Link)
  3. Hozier Opens Up About Religion and Homophobia
  4. Writer of The Week: Hozier
  5. Song Lyrics