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WHY IS HOZIER'S "TAKE ME TO CHURCH" SO POPULAR?

Once again, an Irishman has cracked the upper echelons of the Billboard hot 100, only this time, you may be pleased to hear it’s not Bono:

In relatively short order, Hozier has been unleashed upon the world—first on YouTube, now on the singles charts.

Many attribute his meteoric rise to viral hype: the video for “Take Me To Church” features an incendiary topic (bad choice of words?) handled in a touching manner; playing into the context of our times, the video evokes Russia’s totalitarian approach to homosexuality as our country (largely) continues to embrace the LGBT community in ever growing numbers and ever loosening laws.

The story of Hozier’s viral explosion exists elsewhere on the net, so we need not clog our review with the details, though one part of the tale deserves repetition:

Nick Messitte - forbes.com - 12/03/2014

The song caught the attention of the utterly hilarious Stephen Fry, who “fueled the hype by tweeting a link to Hozier’s video” to his followers, all eight million of them. Indeed, Hozier thanked Fry directly for the help.

Still, attributing Hozier’s enduring popularity to viral buzz alone would be foolish: YouTube certainly propelled him forward, but a viral push does not equal staying power, as Soko—now absent from mainstream conversation after spending one week on the Billboard Charts—could tell you.

Instead, this is a rare case of substance winning out over style. Put more accurately, this is substance winning out over the mainstream’s style, for indeed, “Take Me to Church” stands in stark contrast to the rest.

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