Like Real People Do by Hozier: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

Andrew John Hozier-Byrne is an Irish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who debuted in the U.S. music scene in 2013. Known by his stage name Hozier, his music fuses many genres like alternative/indie, R&B/soul, pop, folk, gospel and blues. His lyrics focus poetically on subverting literary, religious motifs and modernizing traditional folklore. He sings stories of love, heartbreak, morality and tragedy.

Hozier re-envisioned the meaning of worship with his breakout single “Take Me To Church” from his debut EP in 2013 which has since been certified multi-platinum in many countries around the world. It became a rock radio megahit and peaked at second place on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in U.S. The viral song criticizes the Catholic Church’s history of homophobia against queer people. The music video has crafted powerful visuals that censure the brutal attack on homosexual people in society in the name of religion.

Between 2014 and 2015, his fame rose to stratospheric heights. “Take Me To Church” topped the Spotify global chart with over 82 million streams and the music video currently has over 620 million YouTube streams. He made his U.S. television debut on Saturday Night Live. “Take Me To Church” even earned a Grammy nomination in the much-coveted Song Of The Year category in 2015.

His debut album called Hozier (2014) was met with whopping success and much critical acclaim. He spent the next years promoting and touring. Hozier made a comeback with his 2018 EP Nina Cried Power and his second studio album Wasteland, Baby! (2019) which topped the Billboard 200 chart upon release.

Hozier is universally loved for his haunting, effervescent voice that captures the unique timbre of human emotions like honesty, despair and hope through his music. He often paints love as being transgressive and revolutionary. His songs are vehement and an honest reflection of the world we inhabit. This is especially true with his song “Like Real People Do”. Read on to know more about Like Real People Do lyrics meaning.

What Does the Title Mean

“Like Real People Do” is from Hozier’s eponymous debut album that combines the genres of alternative/indie, electropop and country. It is a seemingly simple song that houses a lot of complex emotions, typical to Hozier’s lyricism. On the surface level, Like Real People Do lyrics meaning makes the song an exploration of folk themes and dark fairy tales, something Hozier loves to do. The imagery of unearthly hours, unquiet grave and bog bodies is evident in the person who comes to the graveyard to bury their secrets and accidentally exhumes a dead soul. This soul doesn’t ask them to reveal their secrets and sympathizes with their dire situation, yearning for a kiss instead.

Symbolically, this song is about two broken people with grief-stricken pasts whose experiences have forced them to view love cynically and how their meeting helps them overcome that together. This could be heartbreak or something more traumatic like abuse. In the song, being “dead” is equivalent to having the life sucked out of them by their agony. They are looking to love and be loved or be “alive” again. Literally, “Like Real People Do” denotes regular people who are in happy relationships without all the bitterness these lovers carry. Let us take a look at Like Real People Do lyrics meaning.

Verse 1 – What Does It Mean

“I had a thought, dear

However scary

About that night

The bugs and the dirt

Why were you digging?

What did you bury

Before those hands pulled me

From the earth?”

The song starts with the speaker reminiscing the first meeting with his lover. Digging up the dirt, that person was looking for something they’d buried and said goodbye to. Instead, they met this soul and unearthed him. This indicates their dark past and the awful things they’d been through. There is an unmissable touch of romanticism in the way his soul had been feeling “dead” after being “buried” without love but the seeker’s hands pull him back to life. Surely, love has found him once again.

What Does the Pre-chorus Mean

“I will not ask you where you came from

I will not ask you and neither should you”

The song says the unlikely pair will not exchange details about their past and simply surrender wholeheartedly to each other in their present. They carry a lot of emotional baggage and are scared to open their hearts. Hozier suggests that holding on to the pain of the past prevents you from finding love with someone in the present. Sometimes it is best to leave the past behind and take a leap of faith with a new person. There is no need for them to revisit your old wounds, nor you theirs. Hozier has always championed finding love in hopeless places and this extends to Like Real People Do lyrics meaning.

What Does the Chorus Mean

“Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips

We should just kiss like real people do”

Their love turns its back on the ghosts of the past and decides to bloom right now. He says they should kiss like real people do and this refers to normal happy couples who live without worries. Even though they haven’t been able to attain that picture-perfect contentment in love like “real people” before, they can certainly try to live like them now. Their love will now grow organically and healthily in a place far away from the shadow of their misery. In this way, they teach each other the joy of loving and living again which their previous relationships were not able to provide them.

Verse 2 – What Does It Mean

“I knew that look dear

Eyes always seeking

Was there in someone

That dug long ago

So I will not ask you

Why you were creeping

In some sad way I already know”

He says he is familiar with the look in the eyes of his lover that has also haunted him and his past lovers. This is the look of apprehension that someone might force open the proverbial closet and reveal the skeletons they keep buried. He assures them he will not ask them to do that. He knows too well that people may have had a past where they never felt safe or led a crippled existence they would rather not recall. By recognizing the torment of his lover, in a way he also liberates them. They can now be whoever they want to be with him and it is enough. He will only reciprocate with devotion and acceptance. Ultimately, Like Real People Do lyrics meaning says that everyone deserves a second chance at love, no matter your circumstances or ill encounters.

What Does the Chorus Reprise Mean

Hozier has made a small but significant change to the chorus in the end. “I will not ask you” turns into “I could not ask you”. This denotes the vehemence of his love because by asking them he feels he would ruin their love and he could never do that. This change in Like Real People Do lyrics meaning proves the magnitude of the love he still has left to offer despite the toxicity of his past. The person he meets, who is exactly like him, helps him heal and inspires his heart to love again. They treat each other with love and respect, irrelevant of what they’ve both been through.


Hozier’s lilting voice and the mellow strings have made this song a timeless classic. A popular fan theory believes Hozier sees this song as a metaphor for two homosexual people who have faced a lot of demons or discrimination in life. There, Like Real People Do lyrics meaning would refer to the privilege of heterosexual people. The gay couple is trying to follow their heart in a world that has cast them out and doesn’t view them as normal. Whatever maybe the interpretation, the song does not propagate a bleak message despite its grim tone. It is a hopeful tale of two people rising above their jaded outlook on love, sufferings and uncertainties to find some semblance of joy again.

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