Hozier’s return to music:

An open book worth digging through


Photo Columbia Records

Hozier’s Wasteland, Baby! album cover

Alex Sumas, Iris Editor-in-Chief

Hozier’s sophomore album, Wasteland, Baby!, is a celebration of music, a candid conversation about romance and a political commentary, woven together by Hozier’s Irish folk and alternative rock background and impeccable lyricism. At a time when music is run by pop, hip-hop and rap, Hozier reenters the scene as a much-needed contrast.

While the album does not appear to have a single that will break into the music mainstream as “Take Me to Church” did in 2013, it’s just what expectant fans looking for a complex work of art were hoping for.

The opening track, “Nina Cried Power,” serves as a thesis statement to the album. The song is a protest anthem, not only encouraging the progressive action taken recently, but celebrating all artists who have used their voices and platforms to their full potential. Between these messages, the inclusion of gospel legend Mavis Staples and impressive instrumentals, Hozier not only sets the tone of the album but shows what he is capable of.

Although songs such as “Almost (Sweet Music)” and “No Plan” are fun to listen to, the album demands attention and thoughtfulness from listeners. Throughout his songs, Hozier layers Greek mythology, Biblical references and metaphors, taking the album to another level.

While the album is complex, its themes are simple.  One of the most common is love, as he covers everything from losing yourself in someone, to lust, to the aftermath of a relationship. Hozier uses metaphors in “Would That I” as he sings of his past relationships as trees and his new love as a fire which wipes them all out and becomes the only thing he is able to see.

Wasteland, Baby! is anything but shy. In the five years since Hozier released his self-titled first album, he has grown, not only as a musician, but as a writer and a person. He is back with stories to tell, criticisms to give and nothing to hide. The question is, will you take the time needed to unravel it?