Sunday, April 6, 2014

Feminist Critique: Hozier "Cherry Wine"

I am in love. His name is Hozier and he's an artist. His voice is a smooth shot of rich espresso. His lyrics, coupled with an acoustic and soulful sound, summon a deep spirituality. His poetic lyrics describe women as powerful and not in the typical femme fatale way. Hozier's songs talk about women as ethereal creatures with worshipful wonder and helplessness. While he uses Biblical references in almost every song, it's as if woman is his deity.

I know you're thinking to yourself, but Julie, isn't worshiping women just another form of objectifying them? Doesn't that mean Hozier is still refusing to see women as his equal? And I would have to answer, yes, you're probably right. But pipe down. You're ruining a perfectly nice song. :) I also think that there is more to the songs than simple objectification since Hozier does not expound on a woman's beauty and sex appeal but of her mystery and powers. If that does not reassure you, at least there is no disrespect toward women in any of his songs.




His song Cherry Wine even has some traditional gender role reversal, which is how I knew our love was real.

The narrator is in an abusive relationship, and the lyrics are clearly talking about physical signs of abuse, but these could be metaphorical for the emotional bruising taking place.  Either way, the narrator holds no anger, forgives freely, and remains devoted and submissive to this destructive woman.  I'm definitely not advocating husband-beating, but I still find the role reversal intriguing.

Enjoy this song and check out his others!  I'd love to hear your opinions of Hozier as an artist and his lyrics in relation to feminism.

Cherry Wine ~ Hozier
Her eyes and words are so icy
Oh but she burns
Like rum on the fire
Hot and fast and angry
As she can be
I walk my days on a wire.

It looks ugly, but it's clean.
Oh mama, don't fuss over me.

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.

Calls of guilty fall on me
All while she stains
The sheets of some other
Thrown at me so powerfully
Just like she throws with the arm of her brother.

But I want it, it's a crime
That she's not around most of the time.

The way she shows me I'm hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

Her fight and fury is fiery
Oh but she loves
Like sleep to the freezing
Sweet and right and merciful
I'm all but washed
In the tide of her breathing.

And it's worth it, it's divine
I have this some of the time.

The way she shows 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


17 comments:

  1. Hah, I like it. Thank you for a great summary of Hozier's distinctive qualities. His lyrics struck me instantly, they are good. Well, having in mind that he is ridiculously young and already has a proper view on female powers ;-) I'm waiting for more. Hope he will learn a bit from the best worshippers of womanhood like Mark Sandman from Morphine and Leonard Cohen also.

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  2. Hi Julie. I was thrilled to find your post about Hozier and "Cherry Wine." I'm obsessed with him -- can't believe the album lives up to the promise of "Take Me to Church" -- and have been searching for some insight into this song. The lyrics are so well observed that I'd like to know what his experience of the subject has been. This aside, Hozier's feminist convictions are heartening when you believe, as I do, that feminism cannot succeed without men like him. My hat is off to the woman -- and man -- who raised this evolved artist.

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    1. I definitely agree with you that we need more feminist men!

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  3. Sorry to burst your bubble here, but Hozier isn't really talking about women. He is giving an outlet to discuss his heroin addiction and the love hate relationship he has with it. The "she" in this song and most of his songs, is Heroin. As most users, myself included, will say Heroin is an evil b*tch that kisses you sweetly and then sinks her teeth in, never letting go. He knows one day his time will come, and he will succumb to her completely. I know the feeling. When you accept her kiss, she claims you and you will endure every beating joyously.

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    1. http://hozier.com/cherrywine/

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    2. He is definitely talking about domestic abuse so no bubble was burst. If you want to hear a great song about drug addiction listen to "Hotel California". Also, let me add almost everyone in an abusive relationship is co-dependent in some way and basically addicted to their abuser so I can see how that would relate.

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    3. You have no clue what you're talking about.

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    4. You have no clue what you're talking about.

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    5. Yeah sorry, it definitely is about abuse. But if you want a song about the horrors of heroin addiction I suggest you listen to Bad Fish by Sublime.

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  4. Sorry to burst YOUR bubble Anonymous, but Hozier came straight out and said this song was about domestic abuse. Proceeds from the single are going to a bunch of different organizations that help victims of abuse. Maybe his other songs are about heroin, but this one isn't. And I'm sorry you are an addict, I hope you will reach out for help one day.

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  5. Or maybe call it a truce and say the song is about abuse. Drugs are abuse, addiction is abuse and people abuse. I think its fantastic that there is a song written from a male abuse survivors perspective. It is stated the perpertrator is a woman, but I see too how it could be a drug. I'm glad the artist will donate proceeds to help counseling centers and workshops that work to prevent DV. Thanks

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    1. As a domestic violence survivor. I believe the lyrics are the abusers words to justify why he abuses the woman. I don't think she actually abuses him, but he feels guilty about abusing her, so he imagines that she is a bad person in order to justify his abuse. If you watch the video and listen to the lyrics at the same time, it is obvious that she is the only one with bruises- on both her arm and her eye. Having had the same type of bruises on my arms, it is obvious to me that he was hitting her and she fought back. To keep her from fighting back, he grabbed her arms leaving bruises. In the video she is happy because she is drinking and slightly drunk. When she goes to the mirror and starts taking off her makeup to get ready for bed, she notices the bruised eye and it makes her sad. Reality hits! He then comes to try to kiss her and be intimate and feels guilty when he sees her bruised eye so he covers it with her hair so he doesn't have to feel bad. She is clearly turned off because reality has hit and the alcohol has worn off. She doesn't want intimacy with him now and he realizes it and walks away. The lyrics to the song is the abuser projecting his own actions onto the victim. They never show any bruises or injuries on him so I do not believe he is a victim. I know first hand how it works. Look up Narcissism- all abusers are Narcissistic and project what they do onto the other person. she is not guilty. It is him making excuses and trying to justify why he abuses her.

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    2. It's about a male victim of abuse.

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    3. It's about a male victim of abuse.

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  6. Once again, domestic abuse against women, not men, is trivialized. I have years of experience of enduring domestic abuse. This is a serious problem and costs lives not only for the the spouse or domestic partner but any children involved as well.

    Hozier has a great tune and will get much press, but will not even touch the problem. Pandering!

    This is not a trivial subject. But hey, it sells records and to say your proceeds go to domestic violence. Yeah right!

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  7. It is possible the sing was written from the perspective of a male who was being domestically abused and the video was from a different perspective, ie a man was the abuser. It's a good choice considering it allows Hozier to use his own voice, and calls out to abused men, while also acknowledging abused women. I think this is the primary meaning. However, the lyrics could also be read in reverse, about a man abusing a woman and justifying his actions. It is very well written in that regard. It can also highlight the fact that two people can abuse EACH OTHER at the SAME TIME, in many different and unique ways. A point that is often over looked as it edges very close to victim shaming. The song could easily be about an emotionally abusive woman in a relationship with a physically abusive man, or vice versa.

    Really I understand what you mean when you say you love him and it's clearly meant to be. The feelings that man gives me can only be described in the Fugees Killing Me Softly, haha! He seems a bit masochistic, but so powerfully so. It is enriching. Take Me To Church makes me feel like a goddess. It is such a rare and beautiful thing to have such a powerful man with such an appreciation of women and a CONFIDENCE in his own masculinity... He can acknowledge the beauty and hold women have over him without feeling like less of a man... Perhaps it even makes him feel like more of one! I wonder if it has anything to do with his culture? Heartening back to the roots of paganism and Christianity in a unique way that really speaks to me... I do not usually have much interest in celebrities, and I haven't fangirled in years, but he is really amazing.

    As well, he is clearly a very progressive person who uses his music as a voice of change for the world. That alone should steal the heart of anyone. <3

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  8. It is possible the sing was written from the perspective of a male who was being domestically abused and the video was from a different perspective, ie a man was the abuser. It's a good choice considering it allows Hozier to use his own voice, and calls out to abused men, while also acknowledging abused women. I think this is the primary meaning. However, the lyrics could also be read in reverse, about a man abusing a woman and justifying his actions. It is very well written in that regard. It can also highlight the fact that two people can abuse EACH OTHER at the SAME TIME, in many different and unique ways. A point that is often over looked as it edges very close to victim shaming. The song could easily be about an emotionally abusive woman in a relationship with a physically abusive man, or vice versa.

    Really I understand what you mean when you say you love him and it's clearly meant to be. The feelings that man gives me can only be described in the Fugees Killing Me Softly, haha! He seems a bit masochistic, but so powerfully so. It is enriching. Take Me To Church makes me feel like a goddess. It is such a rare and beautiful thing to have such a powerful man with such an appreciation of women and a CONFIDENCE in his own masculinity... He can acknowledge the beauty and hold women have over him without feeling like less of a man... Perhaps it even makes him feel like more of one! I wonder if it has anything to do with his culture? Heartening back to the roots of paganism and Christianity in a unique way that really speaks to me... I do not usually have much interest in celebrities, and I haven't fangirled in years, but he is really amazing.

    As well, he is clearly a very progressive person who uses his music as a voice of change for the world. That alone should steal the heart of anyone. <3

    ReplyDelete