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Hozier – Take Me to Church Lyrics 5 years ago
Such a beautifully written song. I think at the very least it is about a person whose lifestyle (homosexuality) is in conflict with their religious beliefs and is causing them a crisis of faith. They can't reconcile this divine love they feel for someone with the fact that the church rejects it as sinful.

I think if you take the chorus more literally, it's someone begging for salvation ("deathless death") despite the fact they know that the anti-gay gospel is a lie ("I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies"). He knows they take your insecurities and weaknesses and use it as a weapon against you ("tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife") but he is still willing to give himself to the church ("good god let me give you my life")

In the second verse it's as though he feels he has to abandon or forget about his faith in order to enjoy himself and be happy ("pagan of the good times"). His homosexuality ("goddess") is difficult to maintain alongside his faith and choosing it over his faith is draining on his soul ("she demands a sacrifice/ to drain the whole sea"). He worries that in the grand divine scheme of things, it may be the wrong or superficial choice ("get something shiny"). I think again that despite what he knows and feels to be true, leading dual lives and managing the inner conflict is exhausting and part of him still desires what the church has to offer ("what you got in that stable/we've a lot of starving faithful/that looks tasty/ that looks plenty/ this is hungry work").

The final verse is interesting in its vagueness, but I think the song both starts and ends with a funeral and/or his death. A funeral is a ritual after all. All men are equal in death ("no masters or kings when the ritual begins") and he describes death almost as a release from his turmoil and the only way he will be seen as worthy or equal ("in the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene/only then I am human/only then I am clean"). You could even interpret the opening verse as being the same funeral of his death, with his lover's sad "giggle" at the absurdity of having a ceremony performed by the very church that rejected him. And him looking back after death on that perfect love he had and regretting not "worshiping" it sooner.

What a great song!

Thrice – Anthology Lyrics 8 years ago
Some more possible references i noticed:

"...find my way back..."
Freedom - "I hope that I will find my way"

"And I know that, we can see this through"
Ultra Blue - "We'll never know unless we try to see it through"

Thrice – Anthology Lyrics 8 years ago
"oh you know me, and i know you"
Like Moths to Flame - "but I know you...don't you know me..."

These one's aren't as literal, but some other possible/looser references in the lyrics:

"sure in the ground..." - reminds me of the last line of Child of Dust
"safe in the sound..." - brings to mind Digital Sea "slipping beneath the sound"

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