Take me to Church, Part 2: A Parable of Popular Music

I still think “Take Me to Church” is a bad song. But I’m of a mind that if you’re going to criticize something, you had best offer a positive alternative. This week, i found an alternative. Where “Take Me to Church” is desperate, needy, and insecure, this song is gentle, self-confident, and mutually affirming.

Hozier lives in a self-absorbed world of loving out of insecurity (incidentally, the same world that Tove Lo lives in), with the hope that love will fill the every void and a conviction that anything less is insufficient. He contorts himself to satisfy his perception of what the lover wants:
“If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice.”

In no way is this a healthy relationship, with the Divine or with one’s lover. This orientation of appeasing, of “worthiness,” of putting a person on a pedestal… it’s a set up for failure. What about a healthy relationship where love is woven with religious experience? Exhibit B. “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment (Social Experiment is a somewhat fluid and collaborative group, so I’ll refer to individual members who worked on this song).

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Take Me to Church? Nah Man, I’ll take you to School

Nobody loves a good God-in-pop-culture reference likes pastors do. The inverse is also true: nobody hates a throw-away, faux-philosophical divine reference as much as pastors. By which I mean: Grammy nomination or no, I’m not fond of Hozier’s hit song “Take Me to Church.”

The song is painfully slow, and every time I hear it on the radio it drags and drags and drags…. I change the dial eight times, and it’s still playing. Maybe this is artistic genius, making it as slow and dull as a poorly sung hymn (it’s Sunday morning, not a Tuesday afternoon funeral). I’ll give the song points for that one, but it’s downhill from there. Continue reading