“Take Me to Church” has been a runaway success for Hozier, climbing its way to the top of music charts all over the world. As Hozier finds his footing on tour in support of his self-titled debut album Hozier, fan response has been solid, but some critics aren’t sure that he is anything more than a one-hit wonder.
“I didn’t think it would work on the radio,” Hozier said of “Take Me to Church” in an interview with USA Today; but it did, in fact, it still does, and ever since its release in October of 2014, the 24-year-old Irish singer-songwriter has been busy spreading his blues inspired, soulful sound.
Fans have responded positively to “Take Me to Church” and it shows, as Hozier is consistently playing sold-out shows. But does Hozier offer more than just “Take Me to Church”? Fans and critics alike say he serves up most, if not all of the Hozier album to his concert-goers, and a few surprises.
The Edmonton Journalpraised “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” saying it was “buoyed by church-pew claps and holy harmonies, and grounded by Hozier’s swampland guitar.”
A show in Royal Oak, Michigan, garnered a positive review; in particular, the song “Jackie and Wilson” impressed reviewer Amelia Zak with The Michigan Daily, stating that it was one of the album’s best songs, though she also noted an apparent awkward shyness to Hozier’s performance, as conversation with the audience was held to a minimum.
In addition to his original material, Hozier peppers his performances with covers of great variety. He routinely plays Skip James’ “Illinois Blues” a song that is in stark contrast to other songs he is known to cover such as Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and Amerie’s “1 Thing.”
A self-proclaimed introvert, Hozier isn’t exactly comfortable in front of large audiences.
“I don’t know if I’m ready for larger venues than we’re doing,” he told USA Today, “I really do enjoy the intimacy, rather than a stadium or a large arena.”
While some see his rationed banter as an opportunity for Hozier’s music to speak for itself, other critics see it as a detractor, revealing his immaturity as a performer.
Mark Jenkins in The Washington Post appeared less than impressed in his review of Hozier’s performance at the Lincoln Theater.
“As a lyricist, Hozier already has an interesting voice. But as a composer, arranger and a band leader, he’s still in the one-hit wonder phase.”
No one can truly predict what the future holds for the “Take Me to Church” singer, but what is fact is that his one hit has hit big, as it was recently certified gold in the United States. “Take Me to Church” has propelled Hozier into stardom, earned him a Grammy nomination, and given him the opportunity to perform his hit with Annie Lennox at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
Whether Hozier is a one-hit wonder or a perfomer with longevity remains to be seen, regardless, “Take Me to Church” appears to have legs. Shortly after it was released, Ed Sheeran covered the song, and Ellie Goulding released her own cover of “Take Me to Church” just this week.
[Image via Neon Tommy/Katie Buenneke ]