You know a song has caught the imagination of the general public when it’s played to accompany the trailer for a popular TV program. I realised just the other day that Hozier’s Take Me To Church has achieved that ultimate honour, and it’s a really good tune, so I’ve chosen it as my Track of the Week. Needless to say the song is much more interesting than the TV program, which I’ve completely forgotten now.
Take Me To Church was released as a single in 2013. It sounds like a slow, religious anthem – the studio version of a piano piece written for an evangelical church service. The singer longs for the passion and the ecstasy at the climax of a religious ritual. “Take me to church” he pleads, but he is not asking to be saved and he’s not seeking forgiveness. It’s not God he’s worshipping, it’s his lover; he is borrowing the language of the Christian church to express his feelings of love and erotic desire. For him God is love, the raw, earthly, human love he has for his significant other.
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
Good God, let me give you my life.
Until recently I had assumed that “Hozier” was the name of an indie band but actually it’s the performance name of Andrew Hozier-Byrne, an Irish singer/songwriter/guitarist. There’s a distinct flavour of Van Morrison in his voice and, like The Van, many of his recordings get the benefit of a full RnB production. Many, but not all. On the 2014 Hozier album there’s also a nice, simple, acoustic guitar song (Cherry Wine) and some bluesy material as well as the piano, bass and ecclesiastical choir of Take Me To Church. There’s one song in a 5 time, too (From Eden).
This year Take Me To Church was nominated for a Grammy and won the Billboard Music award for best rock song. Hozier also won the Billboard award for best rock artist and his first full album (Hozier) won the European Border Breakers¹ album of the year award. Those awards were richly deserved, I think. You probably have your own opinion.
- “What’s that?”, I hear you ask. Well, I did look it up, but it really isn’t terribly interesting. Masochists and music industry information junkies can read about it here.