Hozier’s “Cherry Wine” is a gem for deep concentration: May’s song pick of the month


Celebrated Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan worked with Hozier to depict the harmful effects of domestic violence in his music video for Cherry Wine. Photo courtesy of verge campus.com.

Bayliss Wagner, Staff writer

As May’s rainstorms give way to June’s humid sunshine, a month filled to the brim with AP tests, SOLs and SAT subject tests will be exchanged for studying for finals. A study song is just what you need to help pull you through the next four weeks of this school year.

I listened to Hozier’s newest album, Hozier, during all of my studying this month and “Cherry Wine” was one of my favorite songs. The tune is perfect for concentration because it is not upbeat enough to be distracting, but Hozier’s gentle tone and slow guitar provide a melodious background.

Hozier has a distinctive style–a mix of folk blues and indie that I’ve never heard before– as well as unique lyrics, which led “Take Me to Church” to gain widespread popularity. “Oh but she loves/ Like sleep to the freezing” is a line from “Cherry Wine” that epitomizes the Irish singer’s poetic verse, filled with creative metaphors and imagery.

Only recently, after having hummed the tune through many tests and AP exams, did I realize that “Cherry Wine” is much more somber than its tranquil melody suggests.

Just as I love last month’s song pick, “Waterfalls,” for its bold social message paired with a strong beat, Hozier’s sweetly sung story of domestic violence sets “Cherry Wine” apart in my mind.

Both the video and the lyrics emphasize the dual nature of abusive relationships: there is still the romance –“Way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine”– but in the next line, he comments on the the physical abuse: “Open hand or closed fist would be fine.” Many of the lines are the same as those that one could find in a love song.

He even adds a reference to verbal abuse, not just physical: “Calls of guilty thrown at me.” In addition, he covers domestic abuse by both males and females. The song is about the woman he loves abusing him while the music video shows a man abusing a woman.

In the music video, Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan effortlessly and beautifully portrays a tragic situation. She is first shown laughing happily while she kisses her partner, then she sits in front of her mirror, staring at her black eye while she kisses him again. She knows that he is hurting her, yet she cannot stay away from him.

Once again, Hozier attacks a complicated issue with simple, soulful rhythm.