The song “Take Me to Church” By Hozier is part of his Take Me to Church E.P. The song was inspired by the oppresion of the LGBTQ community in Russia. At the time there were anti-gay propaganda laws passed in parliament that suppressed the LGBTQ community for expressing their natural rights in public. In fact, parliament upheld a public display of homosexuality to the same severity of beastiality and pedophelia. As a nation, Russia felt the need to “protect” the children from non-traditional sexuality. Therefore, there was a vast array of attacks by neo nazi gangs.
Hozier’s song focuses on the expression of one’s sexuality and how religious organizations advocate for the suppression of such a natural act. In fact, through the song Hozier expresses that he feels closer to god through sexual acts rather than abiding to organizations or policies that value prejudice.
Towards the beginning of the song, as Hozier introduces the disapproval of the Christian church. He follows this by repeating the statement “I was born sick.” This figurative sickness is mentioned in order to establish the hateful attitude of the church towards the LGBT community. According to the Christian church it is seen as a sin. However, as Hozier repeats the line a second time he states, “I was born sick, but I love it.” He repeats the line in such a way to suggest that he will not support organizations that discriminate the natural act of expressing love for others.
This then leads to the chorus of the song that reads as follows:
“A-amen, amen, amen
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife”
Through the chorus, Hozier uses juxtaposing diction and overall develops his argument through such a contrast. First, the juxtaposing diction is evident especially in the line “I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife.” By structuring the language in such a manner, he continues to develop the idea of oppression. If someone apart of the LGBT community were to express their feelings to the church, they would be faced with immense resentment and possibly violence, as seen through the metaphor of the knife. The whole point of the song is for Hozier to express his disapproval of these oppressive institutions. Therefore, by writing the chorus in a format that sarcastically worships the church, he show the negative effects that would be imposed on someone like him.
Towards the end, Hozier speaks more about the liberation he has found in expressing his identity and loving who he wants. Specifically he states:
“There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin.
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene.
Only then I am human”
Through speaking about an “earthly scene,” Hozier shows that the church would consider homosexual intercourse a sin, however, he sees it as an act of liberation. He uses this portion of the song to sum up his argument. Faced with such hateful events in places like Russia, that don’t allow for expression of natural human acts, he explains how truly satisfying it is to love. Expressing one’s natural human rights and love for another is far more fruitful than worshiping an harsh institution.
9 thoughts on “Take Me to Church”
Love this post! I have listened to this song many times so it’s very interesting to read your investigation about the meaning of the song. I never noticed the power of the symbolism that Hozier writes, and in this song particularly, I think it adds a lot of meaning and power to the song.
This is an OG song. it gets me in my feelings hard. but I understood a lot more of the connections you made after listening to this song.
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I like the analysis of the song and how you show the different symbols in the song which I have never noticed before.
I love this song so much! I don’t think I understood the full meaning of the song until you clarified it for me. It was interesting to see an analysis of each line of the song. It felt so surreal when each of the extended metaphors clicked. Thank you for this. This song is truly a powerful one.
I always used to listen to this song and I really agree with you on the idea of oppression in the song and I love how you related the lines in the song to that specific idea. This song is dense and full of meaning and I think you analyzed it very well!
Before reading your analysis I did not know that this song was about LGBTQ oppression and this now makes me think of it in a completely different way. I like what you said at the end, how free it is to love. The topic is so dark and upsetting but this is the uplifting to those who can experience the simple act of loving.
Thanks for this post. I hadn’t previously thought about this song in this way, I didn’t realize it referred to LGBTQ discrimination. I liked your analysis, and I think that all of the literary devices used to communicate Hozier’s message definitely classifies it as poetry.
Hozier is such a talented writer! I knew that this song was about the LGBT community, but I didn’t know that this was referring to Russia’s anti-LGBT regime. It is so cool how he can integrate these messages. This greater meaning that he conveys really helps your argument that this is poetry.