Hozier is, perhaps, most popularly known for his socially aware debut single Take Me to Church ? a song about queerness and how ?the church? frowns upon it. Released in 2013, this track about forbidden love captured the hearts of many with its beautiful rhythm and soothing melody. It spent about 23 weeks topping charts worldwide in the year of its release and continued to appear on charts in subsequent years. Take Me to Church was nominated for the Song of the Year award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards (2014). His self-named album was well received and spent months in our playlists.
Hozier stans all over the world had to wait until 2018 before we got any new body of work from him. His Nina Cried Power EP, a 4-track tape released in September 2018, contains some of my personal favorites of his entire discography ? Nina Cried Power & Shrike. However, the EP was only a teaser of what was to come. Hozier announced the release of his new album, Wasteland, Baby! via his social media accounts on January 19, 2019. I was beyond excited and probably one of the first to pre-order the album on my music streaming service.
Wasteland, Baby! is a 12-track album that makes you feel many things all at once. You can?t get enough of it ? Hozier draws you in with his high-pitched yet sonorous voice and carries you on a thrilling ride of love & destruction accompanied by a perfect rendition of strings and other instruments. Nina Cried Power is an ode to great singers/songwriters who have used their voices to empower people; Nina Simone, Mavin Staples ? even Hozier himself ? have all cried ?Power? with their music. Almost (Sweet Music) is perhaps my favorite song on the entire album. About music and the feelings it conveys/elicits, this song is to my ears what honey is to the human taste buds ? sweet. In Movement, Hozier sings about watching his lover dancing, and moving in tandem with her. He praises her, encouraging her to move, so he can move too.
No Plan is about the grand scheme of things ? how the world is running on auto-pilot, with no one really in control. Hozier darkly refers to the eventuality of death, by imploring his beloved not to worry because ?there will be darkness again?. Nobody is a ballad about finding love like none other. This love song is one to play on road trips with your significant other, with the sun shining and breeze blowing through your hair. To Noise Making (Sing) is really just about singing; singing at the top of your lungs, singing for the pure love of it, singing just because you can. As Hozier brilliantly sings, ?You don?t have to sing it right/But who could call you wrong?? It?s about saying, or in this case, singing your truth without fear of judgement.
Shrike is a beautiful folk song that takes you back. Hozier?s beautiful voice unsurprisingly carries this melody, assisted by soft strings in the background. On repeat, this song is the stuff of lullabies.
Dinner & Diatribes is about finding love he?s been dreaming of; ?I?m bored, let?s get out of here?, Hozier suggests to his new love, calling her to go on an adventure with him. Would That I is about past love experiences and how they?ve shaped his current love life. Oddly enough, one of my favorite traits of Hozier?s is that he makes shouting sound beautiful and empowering. Sunlight is paradoxical to No Plan, with Hozier saying his love is sunshine. Unlike the eventuality of darkness, his lover brings light and makes his day bright. The final track, Wasteland Baby, is a love song about the end of the world. Hozier sings solemnly, as a man who is in touch with the universe, about the different ways in which our earth will come to naught. He brilliantly and beautifully connects love with the destruction of life as we know it ? a fitting end to a hauntingly beautiful album.
Most artists are now making us wait longer for new music. It is frustrating (I?m looking at you, Frank Ocean) but perhaps what we as fans need to realize is how essential these breaks are to the development and evolution of an artist?s craft. It was a four year wait for Wasteland Baby! and honestly, it was worth the wait. If I have to wait another 4 years for this kind of premium content, I hope my God keeps me to hear this beautiful Irish man sing something new again. 2019 might have started slow in terms of music, but with this new body of work from Hozier, things are definitely looking up.
P:S – His mum shot the album cover. Hozier said if he died underwater at least she will make money from the album cover.
Links to the album are below: