Meaning of “Anything But” by Hozier

Thankfully, we’re now reaching the conclusion of our analysis of Hozier’s third studio album, “Unreal Unearth”. Hozier is an unconventional talent and a genuinely-unique artist in the music industry. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Hozier's Anything But at

But there’s a big difference between listening to his songs and actually being tasked with interpreting and writing about them, because he has a tendency to drop tracks which, on the surface, read as if they don’t make comprehensive sense. And so it is, to some degree, with “Anything But”.

“Anything But”

In the case of this song, the second verse, which is its most-discernible passage, gives the impression that addressee is a romantic interest and furthermore one whom the vocalist may have lost to another man. If such is the case, then the title is seemingly meant to point to the idea of the singer not having any desire or ambition in life “but” being with the person he’s singing to. 

In other words, this would be a love song, one in which Hozier is trying to convince the addressee to hook up with him.

So honestly, if the above interpretation is accurate, then “Anything But” wouldn’t rank amongst Hozier’s most-confusing pieces. But the singer then adds to its complexity by, in his own words, describing it in a way in which it is supposed to be associated with or inspired by Dante’s Inferno and more specifically the ‘eighth circle of hell’, which is reserved to punish fraudsters. 

The way he described the track in that regard, as documented by Genius, may suggest that perhaps he is trying to seduce the addressee as opposed to truly being in love with her. Or let’s conclude by saying that it’s challenging to ascertain exactly what the concept of fraud may have to do with these lyrics, outside of assuming that the vocalist is perhaps deceiving the person he’s singing to.

“I don’t wanna be anything
But I would do everything just to run away
I don’t wanna be anything like this at all
But I would do everything if you’d hear me say”

Credits for “Anything But”

Rappy and Bēkon get both production and writing credit for “Anything But”. On the production side Chakra and Pete G are also acknowledged, and the other writers of this song are:

  • Peter Gonzales
  • Stuart Johnson
  • Marius Feder
  • Daniel Krieger
  • Hozier

Date of Release

“Anything But” is the 13th track on the aforementioned “Unreal Unearth”, which is a product of the following labels:

  • Rubyworks Records
  • Columbia Records
  • Island Records

This song hit the marketplace, along with the rest of “Unreal Unearth”, on 18 August 2023.

Anything But

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    This song is about wanting to run away/be as far away as possible from his lover. That, is the fraud of it. It may read like a love song, but it’s very much the opposite. Even if Hozier could bring death to his lover, he wouldn’t. He just wants absolutely nothing to do with them. That’s the actual meaning.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This song is actually about Hozier wanting to be as far away as possible from his lover. Even if he could bring death upon her, he wouldn’t. He just wants absolutely nothing to do with them. That’s the fraudulence of the song and why it belongs in the 8th circle of hell. At face value, it reads as a love song, but it’s very much the opposite.

  3. Anonymous says:

    ”Hozier is trying to convince the addressee to hook up with him” – great example how to reduce the art of great songwriting to nothing, really shameful.

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