“Take Me to Church,” the worldwide hit by Hozier, sounds like it’s about religion, but it’s not — not exactly. The song also sounds kind of haunting, but it’s not — exactly. As Hozier told New York Magazine earlier this year, the song is about sex and humanity. The church part is just a metaphor.
To be honest, I’d never thought too hard about what “Take Me to Church” means until recently. I’ve been listening to the song about once a week for about a year now. It sounded like a blues-y, moody love song with a chord of good old fashioned gospel mixed in. And if you just listen to the music it is just that. They lyrics cut deep, though. There’s talk of knife sharpening and sacrifice. A Christopher Hitchens quote pops up: “I was born sick — command me to be well.” That’s kind of dark! Haunting even!
“Take Me to Church” is a beautiful song, and you won’t be able to stop listening to it once you’ve started. As Hozier told New York, “The song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love.” Love is his religion, in other words. Sometimes it’s dark, but that shouldn’t scare you away.