The lyrics in “Eat Your Young” by Hozier pushes against the system, critiquing society’s exploitative nature and the harsh realities of the world. The tune calls out the superficiality and ruthless pursuit of gain, pulling no punches whilst delivering its edgy narrative. The song’s loaded lyrics cover a variety of themes, from greed to the superficiality of success, and the resulting societal decay.
When Hozier sings, “I’m starvin’, darlin’, let me put my lips to somethin'”, this isn’t a call for a literal meal. Nah, fam. Hozier’s talking about being desperate for change, for a taste of something real and worthwhile in a world consumed by greed and superficiality. “Let me wrap my teeth around the world” is a metaphorical way to say let me consume and understand the realities of the world.
The chorus, “Pull up the ladder when the flood comes / Throw enough rope until the legs have swung / Seven new ways that you can eat your young,” is an incisive critique of a system that perpetuates a culture of exploitation. When the going gets tough (“when the flood comes”), those with power will save themselves and abandon the rest (“pull up the ladder”). And the cost? Well, it’s their own future they’re sacrificing (“eat your young”). Dark stuff, but revolution ain’t always a pretty picture.
The lyrics, “Skinnin’ the children for a war drum / Put in front of the table, sellin’ bombs and guns / It’s quicker and easier to eat your young”, weave a poignant and bitter narrative about the exploitation of the younger generation. Hozier ain’t sugarcoating the harsh realities of the world here, illustrating a system where the young are left at the mercy of profiteers (“sellin’ bombs and guns”) or sacrificed for perceived progress (“Skinnin’ the children for a war drum”).
The song then transitions to a place of resilience and resistance, “Honey, I’m makin’ sure the table’s made / We can celebrate the good that we’ve done”. Despite the injustices, Hozier insists on highlighting the possibilities of positive change, of breaking the cycle.
Overall, “Eat Your Young” is intense poetic protest music, narrating the raw struggles and injustices faced by the marginalized, whilst offering up the possibility of revolution and rebirth. It’s a call to look beyond the surface, to reject the superficial, and strive for meaningful action — and that’s real talk.