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April 05, 2015

Take Me To Church (Hozier) - Song Review


After seeing it about twenty times, I've finally come to the conclusion that this picture makes absolutely no sense.

Reviewed By: KVR (Head Writer)

Album: Hozier (Self-Titled Album)

Artist: Hozier

Release Date: September 2013

Genre: Indie Rock

Verdict: 16+ (For Mature Themes Relating to Religion and Homosexuality)







Content:

Violence:

--An angry mob drags a screaming homosexual man away from his home, and proceed to brutally stomp and beat him to death. This is out of focus.

Sexual Content/Nudity:

--(Video) We see two homosexual men interacting with each other during the video. They kiss, embrace and passionately make out as part of foreplay for sex. (Not shown.)

--The lyrics of the song are rather strongly implied to be about sex, with lines such as "she tells me 'worship in the bedroom'", "I was born sick, but I love it. Command me to be well", "offer me that deathless death", and "There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin."

In addition to the aforementioned, the song has been (externally) stated to be about homosexuality and the Catholic church, so the lyrics contains references to the rather strong issue.

Language:

--A few uses of "Good God" as an exclamation.

Spiritual Elements:

--As stated before, this song is about homosexuality and the Catholic church. We hear a few scattered references to "rituals", being taken to "church", "worship", and, unrelated to Catholicism, hear references to a "Goddess" and a "shrine". 

Mature Lyrics/Themes:

--The song is about homosexuality, the Church and passionate sex. The video is about homophobia and it can be inferred that the video is set in Russia and makes statements about the illegality of homosexuality in said country. This can be confirmed when we see a Television screen depicting a Gay Rights protest, with a banner in a Slavic language.

Mood: (Downbeat)

While not soul-shatteringly depressing, Take Me to Church is still a very serious song and deals with mature themes, in a rather "bitter" and "seething" tone.
 
Review of Song/Music Video:

Song:

The best way to describe this song is "inverted-Gospel", describing a man's frustration with the Church and his desperate struggle with his sexual desires versus his religious beliefs espoused by the system over him.

Take Me To Church has a very "churchy" atmosphere, but it sounds more like the organ's being strummed like a guitar and the choir's kicked up a riot.

While it took some getting used to, the song eventually warmed up to me, and I have to admit, it's not a bad tune at all. It has soul, energy and passion, yet it's hard not to detect cynicism and bitterness throughout its length.

Music Video:

The video is less impressive, however, offering us an "Oscar bait" story about two gay men torn apart by a homophobic gang in an Eastern European country. The music video aggressively lunges for your heartstrings with the subtlety of a bear disemboweling a catfish. Okay, maybe not that bad, but still.

There's nothing particularly memorable about the music video, besides the initial "oh" moment when I inadvertently discovered that the music video was about homosexuality after seeing the men passionately kissing. I guess the whole video also has that undercurrent of "surprise homosexuality" running through it, as the shot of the two lovers suddenly kissing is handled with less grace than gay jokes in high school. 

The music video unfortunately falls far short of crafting an effective story. The only thing I took away from the music video is that there was a box which the one gay man apparently held dear and it was burned and then he was sad because there were probably pictures and stuff of him and his lover together. 

Or maybe it was his mother's favourite pancake recipes. I don't know.

Once again, not an effective video. I don't mean to sound cold, and do want to note that I'm not homophobic, OR closed off to great stories from the gay community. Not at all.

But let's be honest: You won't find a great story here...


Final Thoughts:

Hoo boy, hot topic much? The Gay Rights movement is an incredibly strong body of activism, with uncanny amounts of influence across the globe. My home country, South Africa, was one of the first countries to legalise same-sex marriage, so I guess you can tell where we stand on this issue, politically speaking, of course.

Personally, I have rather complex views on the issue, which are not limited to either side of the "homosexuality as sin/love" debate. It's something which has caused much hatred and violent, seething aggression towards groups of people with opposing views to the hatemonger.

You may not be happy with me, but for a movement that talks about "love" and "peace" among people so much, there's a lot of extreme hatred towards people with opposing views. Of course, this does not mean everyone involved in the Gay Rights movement is aggressive. Of course not. And they're no more aggressive than the opposing side of the debate.

However, whenever a group, cause or body of activism starts using scorn, derision and personal attacks against anyone who offers an opposing view, you should be incredibly cautious as to what you're promoting. 

With that out of the way, let's talk about the song: Hozier is clearly a man consumed with anger. He's also quite young, a few years older than yours truly. Speaking from experience, one tends to be more consumed by emotions than rational thought in your youth, as many reading this may obviously know from experience.

Hatred soaks the lyrics of Take Me to Church. That much is obvious. However, it's something I can relate to on a different level, having witnessed the hypocrisy of supposed "servants of God" promoting hatred and discrimination towards anyone they deem "unworthy" of their alleged "blessings".

Hozier has clearly been abused and attacked by a system which he placed his trust in, which is an all-too-familiar pain that causes so many of us to turn away from the actual, always-loving Christ the Messiah.

Once again, I'm not saying the entirety of the Catholic church is like this towards the LGBT community. But clearly, our featured artist has received some form of hatred for his lifestyle, and as such, has been hardened up with bitterness and anger.

This song isn't that heavy to listen to, nor does it come across as extremely depressing. The video is a bit upsetting, sure, but none of it really comes across as anything scarring. (Unless, of course, you went through a similar pain.) 

But what is heavy, is the implications of the reality which lie beyond that of the written lyrics, the spoken verses and the gloomy musical atmosphere. All of this serves as only a reflection of the most disturbing reality of all: Real life.

Listening to the song is like unraveling the psyche of Hozier, bit by bit. And once you get to the core of his hatred, it's hard not to be disturbed. And disturbed we are indeed.

Age Restriction:
For Mature Themes

Outro: I hope you guys enjoyed the review. I will see you again next weekend for some more Lyritical reviews and analyses. God bless!

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