Exploring the sonic world of Hozier is like standing at the mouth of a sprawling, aural forest, each song a twisted path leading deeper into the thickets of folk, soul, rock, and a brooding, baroque pop that is uniquely his own. The intense, heart-wrenching melodies of tracks like “Take Me To Church” and “Work Song” shot him to stardom, earning him a place in the pantheon of the most influential pop music artists.
The emotionally charged lyrics that bind classics like “Cherry Wine – Live” and “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” make them touchstones in his illustrious discography. But to truly grasp Hozier’s artistry, we need to dive beyond the chart-toppers. That’s right, partners in music appreciation – we’re talking about the undulating rhythms of lesser-known masterpieces such as “Wasteland, Baby!” and “Movement,” or the poignant introspection echoing through “From Eden.”
Every song in Hozier’s repertoire offers a glimpse into his creative genius – blending experience, emotion, and melody into poignant narratives that reverberate long after the track has ended.
So let’s get into it. From the romantically captivating “First Light” to the audaciously dramatic “Would That I,” here are the Top 24 Hozier Songs Ranked, from Worst to Best.
15. Damage Gets Done (feat. Brandi Carlile)
Nestled in the delightful paradox of remembering the giddiness of youth juxtaposed with the harsh realities of aging, Hozier navigates this nuanced landscape with graceful lyricism and poignant nostalgia. Drawing upon the innocence of youthful love, he croons out the tale of two souls journeying through life together, their love story unfolding against the backdrop of the wear and tear of the world. The narrative sharply changes track though, highlighting the sting of faded love and the sobering reality of time’s passage. The catchy refrain – ‘I know being reckless and young is not how the damage gets done’ – further etches in the theme of young love thwarted by the crush of adult responsibilities. Honest, raw and deeply resonant, “Damage Gets Done” is Hozier at his lyrical best, rendering an oft-told tale afresh with devastating emotional clarity.
14. From Eden
The track swings between enamor and despair, deftly capturing the duality of romantic relationships. Hozier’s lyrics scaffold a narrative wherein the protagonist reflects on his romantic interest, seeking to reconcile her inherent contradictions. She’s tragic yet magical, lonesome but wholesome.
These juxtapositions unfold against a backdrop of religious and mythological allegories, evoking a sense of loss, betrayal and ultimately, a longing for redemption. The protagonist emerges ‘from Eden’, a reference to the fall of man, now poised at her door, a testament to his irresistible pull towards her. Throughout, there’s an underlying sense of regret and disillusionment, as if chivalry, innocence, and idealism have all faltered in the face of human nature and emotional complexity.
This melange of emotions is what makes “From Eden” remarkable. In its understated way, it encapsulates the nuances of love, its beauty and its inevitable pain, marking it as a standout track in Hozier’s discography.
Here, Hozier dives deep into the complex oceans of love and loss, framing his narrative within the chaos of life’s storms and the tranquility that follows. The Irish bard doesn’t shy away from the dark corners of human emotion, piercing right through the brittle heart of love’s suffering.
Wrapped in the song’s emotive moments, Hozier explores a narrative of longing, tackling the ebbing and flowing incidents of life, and the unwavering devotion to love despite all adversities. He seems to yearn for an eternal love, one that even heaven fails to encapsulate. It’s essentially a hymn to unchanging affection, irrespective of the trials and tribulations life tosses in its path.
Deeply raw and intensely emotive, “Francesca” embodies the resilience in confronting life’s hurricanes head-on, only to emerge stronger and more attached to the object of affection. It reiterates the old adage, “what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger,” but with a Hozier-esque twist, painted in shades of celestial analogies and poetic metaphors.
12. First Time
“First Time,” off his EP ‘Nina Cried Power,’ is a testament to this. The song encapsulates the intoxicating rush of romantic firsts, an exploration of both joy and melancholy. The narrative unfolds through the intermingling of the physical and the metaphysical; a love initially so powerful it could dry up the mythical river Lethe, only to dwindle into a numbing silence. Grappling with the paradox of love, Hozier cleverly uses nature imagery to convey an existence in flux, a soul trapped in the limbo between life and decay. The refrain that plays out at intervals, ‘baby’, is a ghostly echo of a time when love bloomed. It seems to speak to a loss of innocence, death at the hands of love – a common motif in Hozier’s work. Yet it maintains that delicate balance between despair and revival, a testament to the transformative power of love.
11. De Selby (Part 2)
The song explores the nuanced push and pull of emotional intimacy and the raw hunger for self-effacement in the face of overwhelming love. Hozier’s lyrical prowess is in full force here, using poetic imagery to depict a desperate desire to melt into the shadows of the beloved and obliterate one’s own individuality. The song seems to question the notion of selfhood in a romantic relationship, indulging in the terrifying yet thrilling prospect of losing oneself completely. The refrain about running against the world’s turning and beating the morning gives it an urgent quality, presenting love as a daring rebellion against time and the natural order of things. Despite its somber undertones, there’s an undeniable allure in its sweeping orchestration and emotive lyricism.
10. Cherry Wine – Live
Hozier serves up an intricate narrative that intertwines sweetness and violence, suggesting the volatile nature of intimate relationships. In the track, love is represented as both an open hand and a closed fist, symbolizing its dual capacity to comfort and harm. Hozier’s metaphoric eloquence is on full display as he compares love, in all its tumultuous glory, to cherry wine; a seemingly benign descriptor that hits you with its rare sweetness and intoxicating effect. Skewing the picturesque narrative that often surrounds love, Hozier bravely delves into the more tempestuous side of romance, reminding us of love’s complex and multi-faceted nature. Despite the tumult, the protagonist remains ensnared by the addictive allure of this passionate love, just as one gets drawn in by the tantalizing taste of cherry wine.
9. Eat Your Young
Set out on a melodious, bluesy tone, the lyrics are indeed a stark contrast to the music. Hozier, in his unmistakable Irish tenor, invites his listeners to assess the harsh realities of a world where the strong prey upon the weak and the “gettin'” is quickly gone. The core message revolves around exploitation and greed with the recurring phrase “eat your young” serving as a metaphorical punch. This biting critique of societal decay, wrapped in a folky, dark blues melody reflects Hozier’s undeniable talent for balancing beauty and brutality, making “Eat Your Young” an unforgettable song in his discography. The song’s lyrics provide a stark and provocative commentary on the capitalistic cycle of consumption, underscoring Hozier’s role as a social critic within the realm of pop music.
8. Unknown / Nth
Like a siren song, the track pulls you into Hozier’s contemplative world, showcasing his lyrical prowess and ability to evoke deep emotional responses. The narrative of the song dives deep into the intricacies of a relationship, with its undercurrent of melancholia reflecting on love lost and the pain of being forgotten. Hozier’s clever wordplay creates a poignant picture of a love that once glowed brightly but has now lost its brilliance, leaving the narrator to navigate through the shadows of solitude and anonymity, a real gut-wrencher.
Artfully layering metaphors over emotional rawness, Hozier portrays his narrator as a figure who’s been let down, his ‘angel’ now just fragments in his memory. The haunting refrain underscores the theme of loneliness, underscoring the refrain, “it ain’t the being alone…it’s more the being unknown.” With this song, Hozier has proven once again that he’s not just a pop troubadour, but a genuine poet of the human condition.
7. Someone New
The lyrics paint a picture of the singer’s constant pursuit of novel affections, romanticizing the act of falling in ‘just a little bit’ in love everyday with a stranger. The lyrics delve into the complexity and messiness of human emotions, embracing the reality that there is no clear cut ‘right way’ to love or live. The refrain of falling in love with someone new, an assertion of constant ephemeral emotions, is juxtaposed with references to “Aretha’s” pure and sweet love, indicating the tension between the fleeting and the lasting, the shallow and the profound. In this pop music landscape, Hozier stands as an unabashed bard of the human heart, packin’ a real punch, all wrapped up in a catchy tune.
6. Jackie and Wilson
Set to an infectiously melodic backdrop, we’re drawn into a bittersweet narrative of a man seeking salvation and escape – a common motif in Hozier’s music – this time through love. What makes “Jackie and Wilson” so striking is the way Hozier uses the mundane – the tired eyes, the stolen Lexus, the black irises – to paint a poignant portrait of a dissatisfied life in need of release. It’s about a fantasy, a could-be love affair with an imagined perfect partner who saves him from a mid-youth crisis, a descent into the wild side away from the harsh realities of life. The song is a wistful longing wrapped around a catchy hook, showcasing Hozier’s knack for merging deep storytelling with a pop appeal.
5. Almost (Sweet Music)
Filled with subtle references to classic songs, it’s an evocative and layered narrative doused in nostalgia. The lyrical journey we’re taken on here is one of personal redemption and catharsis, set against a sonic backdrop that’s undeniably vibrant and infectious.
Hozier showcases his knack for weaving intricate stories with intense emotion, as he sings of coming back from a rough time in life, symbolized by being ‘burned out from a joy ride’. The character described in the song seeks solace in music, reinventing herself through the melodies playing in her bedroom, mirroring a rebirth that is as intimate as it is triumphant. The refrain, ‘I wouldn’t know where to start, sweet music playing in the dark’ becomes a recurring motif, capturing both apprehension and hope, a testament to the potent tension between past pain and future potential.
“Almost (Sweet Music)” speaks volumes about Hozier’s artistic maturity and his ability to deftly combine personal narratives with cultural touchstones. It ranks high not just for its lyrical depth but for its infectious rhythm that makes you sway along, almost as if the music itself is guiding you towards your own resurrection.
4. Like Real People Do
It’s the ultimate love-out-of-the-ashes anthem. Exploring themes of mystery, guilt, and acceptance, the track doesn’t shy away from digging deep—unearthing buried secrets, much like the metaphorical excavations detailed in the song.
Hozier’s lyrics imply a romance that’s sprung from murky beginnings—potentially wrong deeds or mistakes. Yet, there’s an intense desire expressed to move past these unseen hindrances. There’s a clear plea for a relationship stripped of pretense, casting aside inquiries about the past. The recurring line, ‘We should just kiss like real people do’ resonates as a beckoning for authenticity and human connection, free from past burdens.
Ultimately, “Like Real People Do” is a potent narrative about seeking profound connection and authenticity. It contrasts the natural world’s raw grit with the sweetness of human intimacy, offering a hauntingly beautiful track embedded in Hozier’s signature soulful folk style.
3. Would That I
The song revolves around a central metaphor, comparing a romantic relationship to being enthralled by a fire. Hozier, in his lyrical wizardry, moves through the narrative of a man consumed and eventually undone by the warmth and impending devastation of his love affairs, just like a tree being felled, chopped, and inevitably consumed by fire. This smoky, yet enchanting tune speaks volumes about his knack for juxtaposing themes of passion and destruction. The stunning phrase “With each love I cut loose, I was never the same” captures the transformative nature of love and its capacity to leave us profoundly changed. With “Would That I,” Hozier has painted an immersive and insightful picture of love’s duel with inevitability, and the beauty that can sometimes be found in surrender.
2. Work Song
Hozier’s lyrical artistry is on full display here, as he delicately weaves a tale of a man’s life, stained by sin and regret, who finds redemption through his profound love for someone. Every word is steeped in raw emotion, brilliantly painting a vivid portrait of a man willing to crawl back from the grave for his lover. The continual refrain about returning to his love from the grave is at once dark, beautiful, and overwhelmingly powerful, setting the mood for the entire song. Elequently seasoned with grit, ‘Work Song’ embodies Hozier’s signature blend of soulful blues and indie rock, truly making it a timeless piece.
1. Take Me to Church
In this song, Hozier skilfully questions institutional religion and its dogmatic narratives, using raw sexual and spiritual metaphors. He’s painting a vivid picture of his own pursuit of liberation, his struggle with church-defined morality, and his pursuit of love and authenticity. The song is a daring blend of poignant lyrics and pulsating rhythms that gives voice to a fierce challenge against societal and religious controls.
Each line is crafted with the precision of a poet who knows how to blend metaphors with a touching soundscape. It’s a hymn for the rational, questioning generations who find their truth not in scripted verses but in the unrestrained expressions of human connection. It’s about finding one’s own way of worshipping, about rolling with the divine nature of love, even when it’s deemed sacrilegious by conventional norms. See, “Take Me to Church” is not just a song, it’s a tomb-raiding journey into the collective psyche of a generation at odds with traditional beliefs, seeking to reclaim their rightful spiritual selfhood.