Random Jam of the Week 025

We’re back! After much slacking, we make our long-awaited return to posting with a new RJOTW. An Irishman raised on the blues brings us this remarkably powerful track called “Take Me to Church.”

The popularity of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” made Americans feel pretty progressive. And we really got to pat ourselves on the back in January when we watched some gay couples get married at the Grammys. Thank God for our moral compass, the entertainment industry! A few months earlier in Ireland — an overwhelmingly Catholic country often accused of homophobic intolerance — Hozier‘s “Take Me to Church” blew up the singles charts, and its video went viral. CBS Records just released the single to US radio stations this week, so we’ll see if the American audience embraces it in the same way.

Anyone with ears should be able to appreciate the soulful power in Andrew Hozier-Byrne’s voice and songwriting. While M&RL’s hit is boringly obvious, hammering its LGBTQ message (be it one SlackPost supports) into your head with mild imagination, Hozier’s meaning eludes clarity. “Take Me to Church” is no politicized anthem. Although its music video suggests what certain shitheads comically call the “homosexual agenda,” the song transcends a simple defense of human dignity or an attack on oppressive institutions. It celebrates “humanity at its most natural,” to quote a New York Magazine interview with the Irish musician. “Take Me to Church” is gloriously subversive — its gospel influence (and sacred title) juxtaposed against its profane and irreverent themes. “I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife,” Hozier belts out brazenly. Music this summer, I have to say, is not likely to top this kind of badassery.

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