Hozier on Saturday Night Live
(NBC)

The Best Hozier Songs, Ranked

It's sweet like cherry wine.

Every once in a while a musician comes along that completely knocks you to the floor with their songs. For me (and countless others) Irish singer Hozier is one of those musicians. Ethereal, yet funky, emotional, and sexy, Hozier’s music is just everything. I first heard “Take Me to Church” right before it blew up around the world and it literally changed my life. It has been almost 10 years since then and Hozier still seems to get better.

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On the internet, people have suggested Hozier isn’t human, but a creature of the fae who blesses us with his music. And you know what? I totally agree. He has to be some eternal being to create songs as he does. Hozier had promised a new album by the end of 2022, which did not happen. However, with August 2023 came the long-awaited Unreal Unearth. I went through his catalog and painstakingly chose the best of his songs. All of his songs are utterly amazing, so narrowing it down to thirteen was one of the hardest things I have ever done—especially when adding his new tracks into the equation.

18. “Nobody”

Catchy and upbeat, this song isn’t as deep as most of Hozier’s songs but I still love it. He weaves the story of traveling all the world and doing all kinds of interesting things, yet nothing compares to his lover. I mean how could you not swoon over that?

17. “De Selby (Part 1)”

Hozier is Irish and part of me has been waiting for him to have some of his native tongue on an album. Well, I finally got what I wanted at the end of this track. “De Selby” is one song broken into two parts that only get better as it goes along. It makes darkness sound so appealing. There is something interesting about spending time in a dark room where you can’t over-analyze everything you see and just kind of feel.

16. “The Parting Glass”

“The Parting Glass” is a traditional Scottish song that gained popularity in Ireland too. It is about having a final drink with your gathered loved ones before you must leave. Hozier performed the song live in 2020. If you didn’t cry enough that year, his beautiful voice would easily lead you to outright sobs.

15. “Dinner & Diatribes”

This is one of Hozier’s more up-tempo songs. The lyrics are all about getting sick of being out at a club or a dinner. Instead of listening to other people, he wants his lover to tell him all about the loud, crazy fun they will get up to later. Yes, please.

14. “To Be Alone”

Something about the opening of this song resonates so deeply. The lyrics are “Never feel too good in crowds, with folks around, when they’re playing the anthems of rape culture loud.” It evokes every major sporting event I have ever gone to. And much like the song, I would rather just go home and be alone with my partner. Plus, I love the bluesy vibe of the guitar on this track.

13. “Shrike”

The melody of the song is soft and unassuming while the lyrics cut like a well-aimed blade. A shrike is a type of bird that takes its prey and mounts it to the thornbushes where they make their nests. Love can be messy sometimes, I guess. But it still sounds so romantic, doesn’t it?

12. “Work Song”

The music sounds like it could accompany a religious hymn while the lyrics talk about how his beloved fills him up like nothing else. Even when he dies, not even the grave can keep him from getting back home to her (and yes, I would gladly welcome zombie Hozier into my house). So beautiful.

11. “Nina Cried Power”

In this era, some of us feel like protesting is now a way of life. “Nina Cried Power” is a rallying cry that builds on what came before while reminding us that at the core of everything is what we do for each other. Gospel singer Mavis Staples backs up Hozier’s vocals, adding a powerful dynamic to the song.

10. “Francesca”

Unreal Unearth is a concept album that combines themes of Dante’s Inferno. Inspired by the character Francesca from the story, we can see her feelings even after being thrown into Hell for her crime of love. Both in the story and the song, she has no regrets about loving Paolo, even if her jealous husband killed them. I hope Paolo can live up to this woman’s passion and whole vibe.

9. “Movement”

With a chill slow vibe at the beginning, it slowly builds in intensity to a satisfying end. Apparently, Hozier was so inspired by the way someone danced, that he wrote a song about loving to watch them move. I felt pretty moved after listening to this song.

8. “Eat Your Young”

“Eat Your Young” is all about the gluttony of capitalism and how it’s consuming the world. Yes, it’s a lot. Yet Hozier delivers the song in such an upbeat and catchy way, you keep humming along. It doesn’t hurt that many of the “hungry” lyrics come off as sexy when he sings it. Hozier honestly has the power to sing about anything and make it sound hot.

7. “Sunlight”

This song is like listening to sunlight. As always, the lyrics are perfect. He takes us on a journey of someone who enjoyed staying alone in the dark until meeting their love, who is like sunlight. Then they are ready to die like Icarus just to be close to the other person. Subtle music combined with powerful vocals at just the right moments makes the listener feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

6. “Unknown/NTH”

Hozier has this way of making a seemingly simple song cut into your very soul. “Unknown/NTH” tells the story of someone who has given their all for the one they love. This person doesn’t mind being alone or doing these things. Meanwhile, the love of their life seems to know nothing about them as a person.

5. “Cherry Wine”

A heartbreaking, beautiful poem set to a simple melody. Some people focus on the more romantic parts of the song when in reality it is about an abusive relationship. Even though it is sad, I can’t help but listen to it over and over … while I sob into my cherry wine.

4. “De Selby (Part 2)”

“De Selby (Part 2)” is a continuing look at the wonderful experience of being in the dark. Although this is a newer song, I think I’ve listened to it over two hundred times. The song is a jam, but those lyrics are divine. I mean: “Let all time slow, let all light go/I don’t need to know where we begin and end/I’d still know you, not being shown you/I only need the working of my hands.” After hearing words like that who wants to do anything during the day?

3. “Arsonist’s Lullabye”

The electric guitar on this track sounds so hot, especially with that haunting drum beat. I have so many feelings about this song. It’s all about thinking or feeling like something is wrong with you until you realize that it all makes up part of who you are. Also, the line “when I knew love’s perfect ache” is one of the greatest things ever written.

2. “It Will Come Back”

What happens when you combine a bluesy guitar with Hozier’s voice? One of the sexiest songs ever written. Oh, and those lyrics. Hozier compares himself to a wild animal that you shouldn’t feed or pay attention to or else he will keep howling at your door. Listen Hozier, don’t threaten me with a good time.

1. “Take Me to Church”

Once this song hit the radio, it literally got played everywhere. I know some people could say it got played out, but no, it remains timeless. Everything from the amazing piano playing to the magical lyrics, this song is perfect. I mean, the image of worshipping your lover with religious devotion is just … wow. No notes. Also, this was Hozier’s first real music video. Instead of starring in it himself, he highlighted the homophobic violence that is sadly still plaguing the world today. As I said, perfection.

(featured image: NBC)


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Author
D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.