Top 10 Hozier Songs

Hozier Songs

Photo: Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock.com

Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, known professionally as Hozier, was born on 17 March 1990 in County Wicklow, Ireland. The son of an artist mother, Raine Hozier-Byrne, and a blues drummer father, John Byrne, Hozier grew up immersed in a creative and musical environment. Despite describing his school years as challenging, he found solace in music, teaching himself guitar and joining his school choir. His academic journey included a stint at Trinity College Dublin, where he studied music education but eventually left to pursue his music career.

Hozier’s early career was marked by his involvement with the Trinity Orchestra and the choral ensemble Anúna, with whom he toured and performed until 2012. His breakthrough came in 2013 with the release of his debut single “Take Me to Church,” which became a global hit, earning critical acclaim and several multi-platinum certifications. The song’s powerful video, addressing themes of homophobia, played a significant role in its viral success. Following this, Hozier released his self-titled debut album in 2014, which was met with widespread acclaim and commercial success, achieving multi-platinum status in various countries.

Hozier’s music, known for blending folk, soul, and blues, often delves into religious, literary, and socially conscious themes. His career has been punctuated by several significant milestones, including a Grammy nomination for “Take Me to Church,” performances on major platforms like Saturday Night Live and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and accolades like the VH1 Artist of the Year award.

After a brief hiatus, Hozier returned in 2018 with the “Nina Cried Power” EP, signaling a new phase in his career. His second album, “Wasteland, Baby!,” released in 2019, debuted at the top of the charts in Ireland and the U.S. Hozier’s third studio album, “Unreal Unearth,” released in 2023, continued his exploration of thematic and musical depth, debuting at number one in Ireland and the UK.

Throughout his career, Hozier has remained a socially and politically engaged artist, using his platform to address issues such as LGBT rights, domestic violence, and social justice. His songwriting is notable for its depth and literary quality, drawing inspiration from a wide array of influences, including Nina Simone, Woody Guthrie, and Irish folklore.

Hozier’s personal life and activism are as integral to his identity as his music. Residing in an 18th-century house in County Wicklow, he stands tall both physically and in his convictions, advocating for causes like homelessness and social justice, and expressing his views on religion and human rights.

His discography, which includes three studio albums, numerous EPs, and a range of singles, showcases a versatile and evolving artist whose impact on the music industry is undeniable. Hozier’s contributions have been recognized with numerous awards and nominations, reflecting his significant influence and the broad appeal of his music.

In conclusion, Hozier’s journey from a musically inclined child in County Wicklow to an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter is a testament to his talent, dedication, and the profound messages he weaves into his music. Here now are our ten favorite songs by Hozier, a collection that captures the essence of his artistry and the depth of his impact on the world of music.

Top 10 Hozier Songs

#10 – Movement

“Movement” is a compelling track from Hozier’s second studio album, “Wasteland, Baby!,” released as the album’s second single on 14 November 2018. The song showcases Hozier’s signature blend of gospel-pop and R&B influences, creating a ballad that’s both emotionally charged and deeply resonant. Written solely by Hozier, “Movement” began as a piano piece, with its lyrics invoking powerful imagery of dance and motion to depict the transformative power of love.

Commercially, “Movement” achieved moderate success, peaking at number forty on the Irish Singles Chart and reaching number eleven on the Billboard Digital Sales Chart. This performance underscores Hozier’s continued appeal and the song’s resonance with listeners.

The music video for “Movement,” released simultaneously with the single, features renowned dancer Sergei Polunin. Directed by Chris Barrett and Luke Taylor, the video beautifully complements the song’s themes, emphasizing the emotional and physical expression of dance. Polunin’s performance, alongside Hozier’s lyrics, creates a powerful visual narrative that has captivated over 32 million viewers on YouTube.

Personnel involved in the production of “Movement” included Hozier himself, who took on multiple roles including producer, composer, and vocalist, contributing to the song’s rich and layered sound. The collaboration with producer Markus Dravs and other talented musicians like Booker T. Jones further enriched the track’s sonic landscape.

#9 – Sedated

“Sedated” stands out as a captivating track in Hozier’s discography, featured on his acclaimed 2014 self-titled debut album. Released on 20 May 2014 as the album’s third single, the song showcases Hozier’s skillful blend of indie rock with elements of soul and pop rock, marking a significant moment in his early career.

The song, entirely penned by Hozier, unfolds as a poignant narrative on the intoxicating nature of love, likening it to an addiction that brings both ecstasy and inevitable downfall. The lyrics weave a tale of “creeping shadows, poison, and personal decay,” highlighting the darker facets of a consuming relationship. Musically, “Sedated” is characterized by its stripped-back instrumentation, combining understated yet uplifting piano arrangements with the soulful harmonies of a gospel choir, all underpinned by Hozier’s rich and emotive vocal delivery.

The commercial success of “Sedated” in Hozier’s home country, peaking at number three on the Irish Singles Chart, underscores the song’s resonance with listeners, further propelled by its thoughtful composition and thematic depth. The track’s release contributed to the burgeoning acclaim surrounding Hozier’s debut album, cementing his position as a significant new voice in music at the time.

#8 – Nina Cried Power (featuring Mavis Staples)

“Nina Cried Power,” a song by Irish musician Hozier featuring American R&B and gospel legend Mavis Staples, serves as a powerful homage to artist-activists who have used their platforms to challenge societal injustices. Released on 6 September 2018 as the lead single from Hozier’s sophomore album “Wasteland, Baby!,” this soulful anthem weaves together blues and gospel influences to create a sound that’s both stirring and uplifting.

Written solely by Hozier, the track stands out not only for its musicality but also for its poignant lyrics that pay tribute to figures such as Nina Simone, James Brown, and Bob Dylan, among others. These artists are celebrated for their contributions to protest music, particularly during the American Civil Rights Movement, with the song’s title referencing Simone’s powerful rendition of “Sinnerman.” Hozier’s intent was to acknowledge and thank these artists for their enduring spirit of protest and the legacy they’ve left for future generations.

After a period of reconnection with his roots in Ireland following extensive touring, Hozier’s “Nina Cried Power” was born out of a desire to create music with a deeper resonance, driven by rhythm and a reflection on global anxieties. The song’s critical reception was overwhelmingly positive, with reviewers highlighting its effective blend of political passion and melodic allure, calling it an “inspirational triumph” and a “tree-flattening tour de force.”

Commercially, “Nina Cried Power” achieved notable success, particularly in Hozier’s home country of Ireland, where it peaked at number ten on the charts. It also enjoyed popularity in various other countries, charting in the US, the Netherlands, Scotland, New Zealand, and Belgium.

The music video, directed by Patrick Ryan and Hozier’s brother, Jon Hozier-Byrne, features a diverse group of Irish activists and was intended to visually echo the song’s message of acknowledgment and gratitude towards those who’ve fought for social justice. This video, filmed in Dublin, showcases individuals’ emotional responses to hearing the anthem, further amplifying the song’s powerful message of resilience and resistance.

#7 – From Eden

“From Eden” was the second single released from Hozier’s debut album, which was released in 2014. On the Irish Singles Chart, it peaked at number two, while on the UK Singles Chart at number sixty-nine. The US Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart peaked From Eden at number fifteen. The BPI of the UK certified the single at silver while Australia’s ARIA certified it at gold. The influence of Hozier’s Catholic upbringing shines through this song, along with his lyrical delivery from a vocal talent that is easily identifiable to the Irish star.

#6 – The Bones (Remix) (featuring Maren Morris)

On the US Billboard Hot 100, the remix of “The Bones” peaked at number twelve in 2020. The duet performance between Hozier and Maren Morris served as a heartfelt mix of soul and country as the vocal talent from both artists meshed with perfect harmony off each other. It was Hozier’s influence that made The Bones become a crossover hit. Already hugely successful when it was originally released by Morris only as one of the hits from her second studio album, Girl, The Bones peaked at the very top spot among a number of country billboard charts, including the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

#5 – Almost (Sweet Music)

Coming from Hozier’s second studio album, Wasteland, Baby!, “Almost (Sweet Music)” first made its appearance on the music charts in 2019. On the Irish Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number eight with its clapping, folk-style music. The gospel choir in the background adds to this wonderful tribute to the jazz musicians, plus the genre of music they’ve contributed to that has defined pop culture to become as we know it today. The song received gold certification from Music Canada, as well as silver certification from BPI. In the United States, the RIAA certified Almost at platinum.

#4 – Someone New

“Someone New” is a track by Irish musician Hozier, featured on his 2014 self-titled debut album. Released as the fifth single on 2 March 2015, the song achieved notable success, peaking at number 13 on the Irish Singles Chart. Its reception was further bolstered by an engaging music video starring Natalie Dormer, known for her roles in “Game of Thrones” and “The Hunger Games.”

Crafted by Hozier in collaboration with Sallay Matu Garnett, “Someone New” is characterized by its pop-soul genre with indie-rock elements. It stands as the fourth track on the album and is notable for being one of Hozier’s oldest demos to be included in the final record. Despite its age, Hozier has mentioned that by the time of release, this song resonated with him the least. The track features a distinctive pizzicato bass line, distorted chord progressions, and layered choral harmonies that complement Hozier’s echoing vocals. Its lyrics, which Hozier describes as a “love song about love at its most empty,” playfully explore themes of fleeting attractions and romantic wanderlust against a backdrop of religious and theistic contemplation.

Critically, “Someone New” was met with generally positive reviews. The A.V. Club praised its soulful and vintage sound, while Exclaim! highlighted the depth and primal nature of Hozier’s vocals. The Irish Times commended the track’s nuanced production, although The Arts Desk offered a more critical view, comparing its guitar work unfavorably to James Morrison’s style.

Commercially, “Someone New” demonstrated strong performance beyond Ireland, notably peaking at number 7 on the Billboard Hot Rock and Alternative Songs Chart in the United States. It also made appearances on various Billboard charts, including the Adult Contemporary, Adult Top 40, Alternative Airplay, and Rock Airplay charts. In addition to its success in Ireland and the US, the song charted in the United Kingdom, Scotland, and Canada, reflecting its broad international appeal.

The music video, released concurrently with the single, adds a visual layer to the song’s narrative. It portrays Dormer’s character navigating a series of imagined romantic encounters amidst the hustle of London’s streets and the Underground, highlighting themes of loneliness and longing beneath the surface of transient desires. As of now, the video has amassed over 86 million views on YouTube, further testament to the song’s enduring popularity.

In terms of accolades, “Someone New” has garnered multiple certifications, reflecting its widespread commercial success. It has been certified Platinum in Australia and the United Kingdom, 2x Platinum in Canada, Gold in Denmark, Italy, and New Zealand, and 2x Platinum in the United States, showcasing the song’s significant sales and streaming figures across these regions.

“Someone New” stands as a noteworthy entry in Hozier’s discography, encapsulating his lyrical depth, musical versatility, and the global resonance of his work. Its commercial achievements and critical reception underscore the song’s impact, affirming Hozier’s place in contemporary music.

#3 – Tell It to My Heart (featuring Meduza)

On October 29, 2021, Meduza’s (Tell It to My Heart) featured Hozier’s lyrical vocals that added a soulful touch to Meduza’s signature of electronica dance club-style instrumentals. For Hozier, it was the first time he stepped away from the softer style of blues-style performances he’s best known for. On the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart, Tell It to My Heart peaked at number ten. On the UK Dance charts, it reached number fourteen and in Hozier’s homeland of Ireland, the song charted as high as number thirteen.

#2 – Cherry Wine

“Cherry Wine” is a poignant song by Irish artist Hozier, appearing as the concluding track on his debut album, “Hozier,” released in 2014. The song, released as a single on February 12, 2016, is notable for its live recording, featuring only Hozier’s vocals and acoustic guitar, with the ambient sound of birds chirping in the background, creating a stark contrast to the song’s heavy thematic content.

Written from the perspective of a man in an abusive relationship, “Cherry Wine” explores the complexities of love intertwined with abuse, where fondness for a partner persists despite the harm caused. The song’s lyrics and musical composition received widespread acclaim for their depth and sensitivity towards the subject of domestic violence. Critics praised the song’s lyrical craftsmanship and Hozier’s haunting vocal performance, highlighting its ability to address such a delicate topic with grace and emotional resonance.

Commercially, “Cherry Wine” made its mark by peaking at number 32 on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart. Its release was tied to a campaign to raise awareness and funds for anti-domestic violence charities, with proceeds from the song’s downloads being donated to support this cause.

The accompanying music video, released on Valentine’s Day, features actress Saoirse Ronan and actor Moe Dunford, portraying a narrative that visually complements the song’s themes. Directed by Dearbhla Walsh, the video was praised for its powerful storytelling and Ronan’s compelling portrayal of a domestic violence victim. The video serves as a poignant reminder of the song’s underlying message and Hozier’s commitment to using his music to shed light on important social issues.

#1 – Take Me to Church

“Take Me to Church,” Hozier’s debut single released on September 13, 2013, emerged from the attic of his parents’ home in County Wicklow, Ireland, where it was initially recorded as a demo. This track, blending alternative rock, blues rock, soul, and gospel-pop, encapsulates Hozier’s reflection on his experiences and observations of the Catholic Church’s influence on Irish society. Despite his upbringing in the Protestant Quaker faith, Hozier’s lyrics poignantly critique the Church’s stance on issues such as sexuality and human rights, using religious imagery to explore themes of love and discrimination.

The song’s commercial performance was nothing short of stellar. It not only topped the charts in 12 countries but also made it to the top 10 in 21 others, showcasing its global resonance. In the United States, “Take Me to Church” dominated the Hot Rock Songs chart for 23 consecutive weeks, a record it shared with Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” at the time. Its peak at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 further underscored its widespread appeal. The track’s critical acclaim was cemented with a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year, and it has achieved Diamond certification in the US, signifying over 10 million units sold.

The song’s music video, directed by Brendan Canty, Emmet O’Brien, and Conal Thomson, was instrumental in propelling “Take Me to Church” to viral status. Its powerful narrative, depicting a same-sex relationship and the subsequent homophobic violence, sparked conversations about LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination, particularly highlighting the situation in Russia. The video’s impactful storytelling and stark black-and-white visuals contributed significantly to the song’s widespread attention and Hozier’s subsequent signing with major labels Columbia Records US and Island Records UK.

“Take Me to Church” is more than just a song; it’s a cultural statement that transcends music to touch on deeper societal issues. Its enduring popularity and relevance are a testament to its profound message and Hozier’s artistry.

Top 10 Hozier Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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