A Sweet Addiction

I have never been much of a lyrics person, mostly infatuated by the sounds and rhythms of my favorite artists. However, through this assignment I was able to delve deep into the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, “Cherry Wine” by Hozier. These poetic lyrics shed some light on domestic abuse in a relationship where the man is the victim and woman is the abuser. Hozier wanted the song to show specifically this cycle of justification that many domestic abusive situations perpetuate, a cycle cited by many people as a way for the abused to be controlled and guilt to be shifted from abuser to victim.

This is best shown in the related chorus;

“The way she tells me I’m hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.”

Throughout the whole poem the speaker, the man being abused, constantly accompanies an abusive moment to a line that justifies it. The physical abuse is demonstrated directly through the second line, an “open hand” representing a slap and a “closed fist” representing a punch. However, line three defends this pain by using blood and cherry wine as similes. Cherry wine, an alcoholic beverage, is toxic but addictive and sweet. Similarly this relationship is definitely toxic but the speaker can not get out of it nor does he really want to. Also, these lines being the chorus and repeated multiple times throughout the lyrics emphasizes this “justification” cycle mentioned earlier.

“But I want it
It’s a crime
That she’s not around most of the time.”

The word “crime” is used as a multidimensional word in this stanza. In one way the crime could be the fact that he is in an abusive household. Maybe the fact that he still wants her despite all the pain she is/was causing him. Or maybe it’s a crime that she is not around enough even with his love. Whichever meaning one decides to take, the importance is that the speaker does understand that he is in an abusive relationship yet he is so emotionally attached to this woman (through no fault of his own) that he can’t get out.

Hozier, through this poetic song, brilliantly gives readers a deep sense of the physical and psychological terrors of domestic abuse.

3 thoughts on “A Sweet Addiction

  1. ariel m

    I love this song and I really enjoy your analysis of it. You definitely brought up song things I never thought about while listening to this song. I also am more of a “beat” person rather than the lyrics having an impact on me.

    Like

  2. ariel m

    I love this song and I really enjoy your analysis of it. You definitely brought up many things I never thought about while listening to this song. I also am more of a “beat” person rather than the lyrics having an impact on me.

    Like

  3. Olivia M

    I love this song but I never really noticed the significance of how he always accompanies something abusive with something that justifies it. I had also never thought of how his use of “crime” had multiple meanings.

    Like

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