0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Religious Imagery and Literary Devices in Hozier's Songs Number of Times Occurred Type of Imagery = Religious Action = Religious Place = Religious Concept = Religious Reference = Religious Figure = Literary Device


Use of Literary Devices

Hozier uses literary devices within all of his songs. The most commonly used literary devices are metaphors, analogies, and motifs. Every thing that he sings about is very symbolic. For example, in the song "Take Me To Church", the title of the song is actually an analogy about Hozier's view of what is and is not a "religious experience. For Hozier, "church" is actually the sexual experiences that Hozier has with women; these experiences are so incredible and mind blowing to him that he views having sex and being intimate with women as it's own religious experience.

Throughout the album, we see Hozier sing about a woman he loves, and the good times and difficulties he experiences with her. All of these experiences are conveyed through metaphors and other symbolic uses of imagery. Through these uses of literary devices, we're able to see that Hozier's relationship with religion - specifically Christianity - is strained, if not completely ruined. The woman, which in many songs could be seen as a metaphor for organized religion, and Hozier's relationship to her can be seen breaking down in the songs.

Prevelence of Religion

In nearly all of the songs on Hozier's debut album, religious references are made. As our above graph indicates, religious references were the most common form of religious mention in Hozier's lyrics. Religous references included mentions of specific religions, such as paganism, or concepts, such as sin. The next most common form of religious mention was religious figures, such as God or angels. Following this was religious actions, which primarily included praying and worship. Next was religious places, like a church. Finally, religious concepts were the least prevelent form of religious mention in Hozier's lyrics, such as demons.

Ireland and Religion

Hozier makes a few references to Catholicism and his home conutry of Ireland, most notably in "Foreigner's God". Paganism was mentioned frequently in this song as he describes the way in which Ireland's pagan roots were wiped out by Christianity. It is clear from the literary devices that Hozier feels very negatively about this. The lines "But still my heart is heavy/with the hate of some other man's beliefs" he uses symbolism to show his distaste for what Christianity, and more specifically Catholicism, has done to his home country.

Religion and Hozier's Relationships

Religion has an obvious impact on Hozier's relationships, as he relays through his lyrics. "Take Me to Church", his most popular song, clearly shows this. To him, being in a many religions make people feel as if the perfectly natural feelings of attraction that people have are wrong and contridictory to religious teachings. The line "I was born sick, but I love it/command me to be well" references sin as sickness, and can be considered a reference to sexuality. Religion is percieved by Hozier as a negative influence on people's abilities to form romantic and/or sexual relationships. In "From Eden" Hozier relates his relationship with a women to sin throughout the song, again making the association between sin, a negative religious concept, and relationships. For Hozier personally, relationships are a religious experience in and of themselves. In "Cherry Wine (Live)", he writes "And it's worth it, it's divine/I have this some of the time". The song is referencing an abusive relationship that he has with a woman who treats him terribly, but at the same time the experience is similar to how he's experienced religion; not good, but at times, not bad.

Religion and Society at Large

The way that Hozier views society is impact by religion and his afore mentioned views on it. In terms of relationships, Hozier believes that religion has had a large negative impact both on his own relationships and the relationships of others. Religion is this all consuming entity that controls his country and the people he interacts with. Sin is brought up many times in his lyrics, and this concept is something that he seems to struggle with the most. Reconciling good and evil is difficult at best Hozier, and it changes how he partipates in society. While he offers no solutions for how to change this negative relationship with religion, he does at times positively describe religion broadly, such as when he equates loving a women with a divine experience.