Much like poetry, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. ” Music and poetry are two platforms in which artists from the beginning of time have chosen to circulate their ideas, feelings, and opinions. Although different in popularity, these mediums are alike in various ways. Nonetheless, not every song you hear on the radio can be properly analyzed using procedures that you would follow to evaluate poetry. A song has to contain certain literary elements essential to poetry, such as the song “From Eden” by Hozier, in order for it to be analyzed.
Hozier is recognized for his sentimental lyrics and use of poetic elements to add musicality and rhythm to his music. Through symbolism, repetition, and allusions, Hozier’s literary genius is encompassed in the lyrics of “From Eden”. The music of a song is essential in portraying the mix of emotions that the artist is trying to communicate. However, should it not be possible for the audience to simply derive the meaning of the music through the lyrics themselves? In “From Eden,” Hozier effortlessly delivers his message through the symbolism that is utilized in his lyrics.
For example, in the line, “Honey, you’re familiar like my mirror years ago,” his “mirror years ago” symbolizes his past self (9). The line as a whole means that the woman that he is singing about reminds him of someone he used to be. An additional model of Hozier’s mastery of symbolism is his continuous references to himself as the snake from Eden. In line 12 he sings, “I slithered here from Eden, just to sit outside your door. ” By referring to himself as the snake from Eden, he is referencing the temptation that the snake embodies in the tale of Adam and Eve.
By using this symbol, Hozier perfectly portrays that he is luring this woman in and using temptation to achieve her love. Another polished representation of symbolism is in line 20: “A rope in hand for your other man to hang from a tree. ” Here, the rope in hand that he sings about symbolizes death, and the context reveals that the speaker wants to end the life of any other man that dares to try and steal his woman. Hozier’s utilization of these symbols subtly add depth and meaning to his piece.
Hozier uses symbols in his song “From Eden” to expand the meaning of his lyrics, but the repetition of some of these symbols along with other ideas, emotions, and words reveal the deeper meaning of the song. Hozier seamlessly ties in repetition and parallelism to simplify the message he is attempting to communicate. The main part of the song in which the listener can easily detect parallelism is in the third stanza: “No tired sighs, no rolling eyes, no irony/ no ‘who cares’, no vacant stares, no time for me” (7-8).
Here, the word “no” is repeated to further emphasize the fact that the artist does not want to have to deal with these signs of hardship in his relationship with this new woman. Another example of repetition is Hozier’s use of the word “babe. ” “Babe” is repeated in the song a total of four times. At plain sight it can be seen simply as filler word; however, the placement of the word reveals a deeper reason for its inclusion. Hozier deliberately only uses the word “babe” to start lines in which he says something negative about the relationship. The song begins with, “Babe, there’s something tragic about you” (1).
Aforementioned, this line has a negative connotation to it despite beginning with a word of adoration. This creates contradiction in his writing. Another instance in which this is used is in line 13 with, “Babe, there’s something wretched about this,” where the same explanation applies. By following “babe” with these negative descriptions, Hozier lightens the mood and presents love as being stronger than the negative aspects of the relationship. These examples of repetition are done specifically of important aspects of the work that require emphasis in order to be fully comprehended.
Repetition is extremely useful in literature, poetry, and music. Although, it does not quite encompass the same figurative meaning that allusions can carry. The most important literary device concerning conveying the true meaning of “From Eden” is allusions. An allusion is an indirect or passing reference to something else that a writer or an artist can take advantage of to portray a new message through someone else’s story. Hozier uses the well-known biblical tale of Adam and Eve to create a familiar medium between the artist and listener.
In the song, the singer compares himself to the snake from Eden, the woman he sings about represents Eve, and the other men represent Adam. This is all proven throughout multiple lines in the lyrics, such as, “Innocence died screaming, honey, ask me I should know/ I slithered here from Eden just to sit outside your door” (11-12). The “innocence died screaming” references Eve losing her innocence once she took a bite from the apple that the snake offered her.
In this case, the speaker to the woman’s innocence possibly sexually or romantically. I slithered here from Eden” means that the singer tempted her to do what she was taught not to do in the past. Also, when Hozier sings “Oh, what a sin,” the idea of a biblical allusion is stressed. These lines bring the rest of the lyrics into context and make a connection that is familiar to the listener to better explain the story. After further analysis, connections between music and poetry become prevalent. With all three of these key elements in mind, it is easy to see that music can, in fact, express that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
By utilizing symbolism to give lyrics a deeper meaning, Hozier was able to accomplish what many artists today struggle to attain. With repetition, Hozier was then able to further the effectiveness of the symbolism. Everything was then tied together by telling a story through a more familiar reference and taking advantage of allusions. As far as music goes, “From Eden” is the perfect fit for a poetic analysis. So, the next time you hear it on the radio, you can now think of the poetic elements that Hozier was able to bring to the table as he told his story through song.