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Hozier: Unreal Earthly Talent

WALLACE JONES celebrates the queer-friendly Irish songsmith and argues there is no one rosier than Hozier!

Hozier, or Andrew Hozier-Byrne, is a 33-year-old Indie-Alternative singer-songwriter from Bray, Ireland. He has released three albums - Hozier (2014), Wasteland, Baby! (2019) and Unreal Earth (2023) and is currently on a tour of Europe. He has earned himself the affectionate nickname ‘Forest Father’ or a slightly more inappropriate ‘Forest Daddy’, due to his height and whimsical appearance.

Each album contains fan-beloved songs, each more diverse and with reference to a multitude of mythological tales, from Christianity to Greek tales. The lyricist’s references to Christianity can be seen in ‘From Eden’ (Hozier, 2014) - a reference to the Biblical ‘Garden of Eden’ - and the subversion of Catholic prayer and more favourable views of queer joy and the rejection of sin, within ‘Take Me to Church’ (Hozier, 2014). Due to Andrew growing up in Ireland, his knowledge and hints toward the Christian Bible tales could be seen as a reclamation of Christian teachings for many listeners.

Hits and myths

The clear allusions to Greek myths in Wasteland, Baby! and Unreal Earth, from the moral tale of Icarus and Dante’s Inferno (1314) to the tale of the Titan Kronos, demonstrates Hozier’s poetic nature and knowledge of their mythological themes. These universally felt emotions range from love and freedom (‘I, Carrion’, ‘Unreal Earth’), to rage and anger (‘Eat Your Young’, ‘Unreal Earth’) which will resonate with most listeners, no matter what their life experiences.

Truly loved songs from the first album (Hozier) include, ‘Cherry Wine’, ‘Work Song’, ‘From Eden’. Many Hozier fans enjoy the variety of musical genres encompassed by the singer, demonstrated by the songs within the second album (Wasteland, Baby!) - ‘Almost (Sweet Music)’, ‘That Would I’, ‘To Noise Making (Sing)’. His most recent album, Unreal Earth delves into more Greek based mythological tales - ‘Eat Your Young’, ‘Unknown / Nth’ and ‘All Things End’. These songs cover themes such as love, as seen in ‘Cherry Wine’; loss, as seen in ‘Shrike’ and reminiscent life experiences, ‘Butchered Tongue’.

Musical genius

Hozier’s recent musical tours, concerts across North America, South America and Europe, along with the rising popularity of his music on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, has made his presence and musical genius (as some may consider him to be) well-known and a common household name, even simply for some of his earlier songs.

He has also collaborated with up-and-coming artists such as Noah Kahan, (‘Northern Attitude ft. Hozier’, Noah Kahan, 2023) and more famous artists like Brandi Carlile (‘Damage Gets Done’, 2023) and Maren Morris, (‘The Bones – With Hozier’, 2019). He has additionally covered other artists songs such as Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’, the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Do I Wanna Know’ and more traditional Irish folk songs such as ‘The Parting Glass’ and ‘The Humours of Whiskey’.

Queer fandom

The wide range of genres covered by Hozier, from traditional Irish Folk music to more indie rock and songs performed for video games and films, ‘Blood Upon the Snow’ (God of War, Ragnarök) and ‘Better Love’ (The Legend of Tarzan), has created an overwhelmingly welcome fandom made up of world mythology lovers, stereotypically queer and lesbian people and a majority of women. This demographic has created an inclusive and caring fandom, a safe and wonderful environment.

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