Aesthetic and Activism | “Swan Upon Leda” by Hozier


Madison Reinhold, Writer/Volunteer

Attention all nature lovers, bog dwellers, romantics, sad romantics, religious symbolism enthusiasts, tall people, revolutionaries, nihilists and everyone whose favorite season is fall — it’s here. 

Hozier has returned.

Swan Upon Leda” is a preview of his upcoming LP. The singer-songwriter posted about the story behind the song on his Instagram a few days before the release. 

“We were tracking it in the studio when the news came through of Roe v. Wade being overturned. I felt there was an opportunity to offer some show of solidarity,” he wrote. “We’re reminded again by the protests in Iran that progressivism is a global movement.”

Exploring both American women’s loss of reproductive freedom and Iranian women protesting against hijab requirements and the death of Mahsa Amini through mythology, the song title comes from the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan. Leda was a woman raped by Zeus as he was disguised as a swan, and afterwards she lays two eggs and gives birth to four children. Genius Lyrics describes how this shows the ways men have controlled women’s bodies throughout time. Men should not have control in childbirth — but centuries after this myth takes place they still do. This control that men have in the world is the control the swan had over Leda. And even despite women’s cries against it, men will still try their hardest to maintain their superiority. 

Hozier always excels at combining powerful messages with beautiful music, including past tracks like “Nina Cried Power,” “Be” and his most famous “Take Me To Church.” Perhaps because I’m writing this as this song plays over rainfall and rustling leaves out my window, but this track has a beautiful autumnal sound. Mellow acoustics mix with his beautifully haunting voice to create something truly mesmerizing and unforgettable. 

This song came at the perfect time: to provide a sound for the falling orange leaves and for the cries for change around the world.