Meaning of “First Light” by Hozier

“First Light” is the 16th and closing track of Hozier’s album “Unreal Unearth”, a project that was inspired by the classic epic poem known as Dante’s Inferno (which, more accurately, is titled Divine Comedy). 

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

Said work revolves around a protagonist who ventures through hell. As the story goes, he eventually completes the journey and ends up in purgatory, i.e. a higher spiritual state which is closer to heaven. It is upon such a concept that “First Light” is based. According to Hozier, it is about “coming out the other side and having a new relationship with light”. 

And the singer proceeded to point out that said “light” is “something you can celebrate as if you’re seeing it for the first time for its brilliance”. So with all of that in mind, perhaps the term “unearth”, as found in the title of the album, is meant to point to the idea of emerging from hell. Or put simply, it can be said to represent overcoming some type of persistent, less-than-ideal state.

The singer/songwriter also went on to explain that this song centers on “having a new relationship with light, as something you don’t want to hide… or disappear from”. That idea comes across more forthrightly in the lyrics. 

“Like I lived my whole life
Before the first light
(Some bright morning comes)
Like I lived my whole life
Bеfore the first light
(Some bright morning comеs)”

As to be expected from Hozier, what’s being put forth in this song isn’t readily discernible, in a manner of reading or interpretation. But with the aforenoted backdrop in mind, as well as considering the pre-chorus as an indispensable component in understanding the chorus itself, it does become more apparent that the vocalist is celebrating his “first light”. 

As such, “First Light” is intended to contrast “De Selby (Part 1)“, the opening track on the album, which is rather a celebration of darkness. And whereas the phrase “first light” is somewhat of an ambiguous statement, what’s being put forth in this track can be taken as another way of Hozier asserting that he has found a new lease on life.

It is arguable, based on the second verse especially, that he is speaking to some type of religious/spiritual experience. Also, the pre-chorus notes an unidentified addressee as ‘filling his cup’. This addressee edifies the vocalist’s life, but it’s up to the listener to discern who that individual may be.

Credits for “First Light”

The production team behind this song consists of these names:

  • Bēkon
  • Chakra
  • Craig Balmoris
  • Tyler Mehlenbacher
  • Rappy
  • Pete G
  • Hozier

Every member of the production team also gets songwriting credit for this song. Songwriters Daniel Krieger and Stuart Johnson are also given writing credits.

Date of Release

This track was officially released, through Columbia Records and Rubyworks Records, on 18 August 2022 as part of “Unreal Unearth”.

First Light

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