This acoustic adventure was inspired by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney and his series of poems about the northern Irish bog, in which the land itself seems to come alive. The singer told MTV News the song is about "somebody digging somebody up from the earth and falling in love with them."
Hozier explained what attracted him to Seamus Heaney's poems about bog people. He said during a Reddit AMA: "I kind of liked the imagery of someone digging up a person from the earth and falling in love with them and at the same time I suppose that person being dug from the earth is relieved, reborn, and somewhat suspicious of the motives of a grave digger. A fine love story."
"Sloop John B" is a traditional West Indian folk song, and it was a huge hit for The Beach Boys in 1966. They tweaked the lyric, "This is the worst trip since I've been born" to "...I've ever been on" as a wink to acid culture.