Meaning of “De Selby (Part 2)” by Hozier

The release of “De Shelby (Part 2)” makes it the fourth single issued from Hozier’s forthcoming LP, “Unreal Unearth”. “De Selby (Part 1)” is actually the first song on its playlist, being followed by “Part 2”. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Hozier's De Selby (Part 2) at

Hozier wrote this track with two of its producers, Bēkon and Jeff Gitelman, also being credited in that regard, as are the following:

  • Peter Gonzales
  • Daniel Kreiger
  • Rappy

And the other musicians who produced this song are: Pete G, Marius Feder and Chakra.

Many of the other tracks found on the “Unreal Unearth”, such as its three previous singles, “Eat Your Young“, “Francesca” and “Unknown / Nth“, were inspired by a classic piece of literature known as Dante’s Inferno

That does not appear to be the case with “De Selby (Part 2)”. Instead Hozier has described this song, in relation to Part 1, as “further explor(ing) and play(ing) with the themes of darkness in the context of connection; to self, to other, and to sense of time and space”. 

And with that in mind, the track was apparently named after a fictional character called “De Selby”, who was created by Irish novelist Flann O’Brien (1911-1966) and who’s also associated, as with these lyrics, with the concept of night and darkness.

De Selby (Part 2)

The Lyrics of “De Selby (Part 2)”

Needless to say for those of us who are familiar with Hozier’s artistry, from a lyrical standpoint his songs tend to be complicated, or let’s more accurately say heavily-poetic. And so it is with this piece, in which the singer gets existential in describing his relationship with the addressee basically.

Said addressee would obviously be a romantic interest, i.e. the singer’s significant other. And with that in mind, underneath all of the imaginative lingo, what this piece reads like, to some degree, is what we like to term as an us-against-the-world song, i.e. one where the vocalist is fantasizing about running away with his sweetheart.

But in this case, Hozier uses the term “against the world”, he does so specifically within the context of expressing his own aspirations, those which are not directly related to the addressee per se. And the reason he ‘wants to lose’ himself, as expressed in the refrain, is seemingly because, under his estimation, doing so would empower him to love his sweetheart more.

“I wanna run against the world that’s turnin’
I’d movе so fast that I’d outpace the dawn”

Hozier then proceeds with:

“I wanna be gonе
I wanna run so far, I’d beat the mornin’
Before the dawn has come, I’d block the sun
If you want it done”

Indeed, as far as the thesis sentiment goes, even though the overwhelming majority of the lyrics focus on the vocalist, it can be understood as being based on his desire to be with the person he’s singing to as much as possible. 

Or as put forth in the pre-chorus, the vocalist wishes that he could be with her every night, or something along those lines as again, these lyrics are so indirect – or euphemistically put poetic that is it takes a lot of thinking on the part of the listener to try to figure out what the singer is getting at specifically. 

Even though De Selby does not appear to be a romance-based character, it would probably take a better understanding of what he represents to fully appreciate these lyrics.

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