Breaking the instrumentation with, “Her eyes and words are so icy / Oh but she burns,” Hozier’s “Cherry Wine” is heavy. The Irishman’s delivery of haunting lyrics is delicate yet powerful, as is the accompanying music video.

The video opens on a woman adjusting a dainty bracelet upon her wrist, drawing the viewers’ focus to faint bruises on her forearm. There’s a sudden switch to a scene of the woman intimately greeting a man — presumably her significant other. The contrast between the broken woman with the bruised limb and the same woman, now warm, greeting her man is stomach-churning. It becomes clear that the video is making a statement about a painfully reoccuring issue — domestic violence.

As the song progresses, the duality of the abused woman’s life is made ever clearer. The camera continually cuts between the woman’s private dealings with the severity of her situation and the seemingly happy, loving moments she has with her partner. At one point, a double-paned mirror shows the woman both bruised and fresh-faced, solidifying the reality that a battered individual is unable to be whole while trapped in a toxic relationship.

The colors and lighting of the video are muted, reflecting the piece’s somber message — no actions depicted are overtly violent or coercive. Prompting further thought, the video wraps with a black screen dawning “#faceuptodomesticviolence” and Hozier’s voice, seeming to speak to his own experience, ringing “Open hand or closed fist would be fine / Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.”

YouTube video

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