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*The copyright for the cover art for the self-titled by the artist Hozier is believed to belong to the labels Rubyworks, Island Records & Universal Records, or the graphic artist(s).

Cherry Wine – Live


Album Hozier

“Cherry Wine – Live” is the final track on Irish singer, musician and songwriter Hozier’s self-titled debut album, which was released in 2014 via Rubyworks, Island Records and Columbia Records.

The indie-folk song sees Hozier discuss the complexities and layers of an emotionally, mentally and abusive relationship. In the first verse, Hozier sets the tone and atmosphere when around his lover:

“Her eyes and words are so icy / Oh, but she burns / Like rum on fire / Hot and fast and angry as / she can be / I walk my days on a wire” 

Hozier uses the juxtapositions of hot and cold in this first verse to portray not only his lover’s personality, but the literal hot and cold switch in how she treats him. However, he can’t get enough, comparing her to “rum on fire”, and the burning of alcohol when you drink it straight – a harsh but intense feeling. He has to act differently every day: “I walk my days on a wire”, signifying he tiptoes around his partner and acts accordingly to her moods.

[Pre Chorus]

“It looks ugly, but it’s clean / Oh mama, don’t fuss over me” 

This pre-chorus sees Hozier tell listeners that he his been physically abused by his partner, with the line “it’s looks ugly but it’s clean”, as well as trying to assure his mother that he is in safe hands and does not need to be fussed over or worried about.


“The way she tells me I’m / hers and she is mine / open hand or closed fist / oh, would be fine / The blood is rare and as / sweet as cherry wine”

Here, Hozier paints a picture of the how his lover manipulates him with her words and love. He reveals that he is so enamoured with her that regardless of whether she is physically gentle or physically violent with him, he will still love her. The use of cherry wine demonstrates that the love Hozier feels for this woman is intoxicating, sweet and rare, yet it is addictive as alcohol.

[Verse 2]

“Calls of guilty thrown at / me, all while she stains / The sheets of some other / Thrown at me so / powerfully, just like she / throws / with the arm of her / brother”

In this verse, Hozier reveals that his partner has been unfaithful to him, all the while she continues to blame Hozier for her actions. Hozier compares the accusations thrown at him with how she physically hits him, alluding to her punches being as strong as her brothers. This also sums up the victim blaming in the relationship, and how Hozier is always at the end of the abuse, regardless of whether it is his fault or his lover’s.


“But I want it, it’s a crime / That she’s not around most / of the time” 

In this version of the pre-chorus, Hozier admits his guilt as he wants to still be with his partner despite how badly she treats him. The pre-chorus can also be interpreted as him stating that she is committing crimes not only with her behaviour, but with her infidelity too.


“The way she shows me I’m / hers and she is mine / open hand or closed fist / oh, would be fine / The blood is rare and as / sweet as cherry wine”

In this version of the chorus, Hozier changes the word “tells” to “shows” in the line: “The way she shows me I’m hers…”. This further accentuates the extent his lover goes to manipulate Hozier’s emotions as well as take advantage of his love for her. Not only does she tell Hozier how much she loves him, but she shows him through physical closeness.

“Cherry Wine – Live” is certified Platinum in Canada and Gold in the UK.

[Verse 3]

“Her fight an fury’s fiery / Oh, but she loves / Like sleep to the freezing / Sweet and right and / merciful, I’m all but washed / In the tide of her breathing”

This verse focuses on the physical intimacy and how Hozier’s partner uses sex to heal things between them. He points out how despite her intensity and harshness, she loves hard and loves “like sleep to the freezing”. When an individual is at freezing point, falling asleep will most likely kill them, but sleep seems attractive as it will ease their pain. This is an incredible comparison, as Hozier is stating that his lover has broken him down to a point where resisting is all he can do. In the lyric: “In the tide of her breathing”, could allude to the two sharing an intimate moment together after sex, their breathing and feelings only in sync at that moment.


“And it’s worth it, it’s divine / I have this some of the time”

In the final pre-chorus of the song, Hozier states that these rare moments between him and his lover keep him there, and how these small points of time in their relationship hold the most significance and importance to him. The use of the word “divine” could be a double entendre, with it meaning both wonderful but also Godlike, where Hozier is continuously worshipping an abusive lover.


“The way she shows me I’m / hers and she is mine / open hand or closed fist / oh, would be fine / The blood is rare and as / sweet as cherry wine”

This is the final chorus in the song, and rounds up the song in a bittersweet manner, leaving listeners feeling that Hozier will be forever stuck in an never-ending toxic and abusive cycle.

The music video for “Cherry Wine – Live” was released on the 14th February 2016, and was part of the #FaceUpToDomesticViolence social media campaign. Directed by Dearbhla Walsh, the video shows actors Saoirse Ronan and Moe Dunford in a turbulent relationship, with Dunford as the abuser. Ronan and Dunford are shown in various scenes, from dancing to kissing and drinking wine, with the occasional shot of Ronan removing her makeup to reveal a black eye. The video shows viewers the layers of an abusive relationship, all while being horrifyingly tender and soft. As of June 2023, the video had a total of 36.8 million views.

Shortly after the release of the music video, Hozier spoke to NME to share his thoughts around the track and the importance of spreading awareness around domestic violence:

Domestic violence is an ongoing issue in our society, the statistics of which are shocking and the effects of which damage whole families, communities and span generations. With the song Cherry Wine, I tried to get across the difficulty of coming to terms with and facing up to domestic violence and the dynamic of an abusive relationship. I’m honoured to be […] spreading awareness on this issue.”


“Cherry Wine – Live” is certified Platinum in Canada and Gold in the UK.


Read the lyrics to “Cherry Wine” here.

*All information accurate at the time of publishing.

Added by infostoryofsong

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Release Date

20th July 2014






Rubyworks, Island Records & Columbia Records

Chart Rankings

- #32 & #94 at various times on the US Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs *All chart rankings accurate at the time of publishing.

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