By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |
Hozier is back with his new album, Wasteland, Baby! The Irish musician Andrew Hozier-Byrne (singing under the homonym Hozier) continues his hot musicianship of sweet, sweet folk-rock with an overdue follow-up to his 2014 self-titled album. It’s been five years since we heard “Take Me To Church” playing repeatedly on our airwaves, and we believe that the songs in Wasteland, Baby! will stand to the same acclaim he has in his 2014 release.
Wasteland, Baby! gathers the same strengths Hozier identified back in 2014, particularly the countryside folk music he employed in most of his songs that gained him the reputation on the internet to this otherworldly sage/bard persona. This sound is highlighted once again in songs like “Shrike,” where Hozier compares a broken relationship to a shrike, a North American bird knowing to give violent treatment to its prey. This imagery takes us back to the violent imagery Hozier used in his previous releases, including “In a Week,” where he imagined rotting together with a significant other for eternity. There’s a lot of darkness too in Wasteland, Baby! that is reminiscent of Hozier, including “Talk,” a song about seduction.
However, Hozier definitely changes his pace in his new release. The new album starts strong with “Nina Cried Power,” an anthem chronicling the efforts of civil rights and social justice throughout music history that is leaning more towards the light than the dark. To say that Hozier is getting political is to ignore the fact that his last album starts on the same note; “Take Me To Church” alludes to a rejection of authority, and this parallels really well with “Nina Cried Power,” in which the bard now celebrates the people voicing their rejection against that authority. He also voices this light in “To Noise Making (Sing),” an ode to the very act of singing; not giving a care if it’s not perfect, but giving utmost importance to singing’s cathartic property.
Hozier shows a lot of his personality through Wasteland, Baby! He references astrophysicist Dr. Katherine J. Mack and compares the briefness of his joy to entropy and black holes in the song “No Plan.” He also does not shy away from the topics of loneliness, singing about reminiscing about a lost love down SoHo in “Nobody.” Additionally, in “Dinners and Diatribes,” he rejects the implications of dating and other social activities.
The album closes with a picture perfect title track—“Wasteland, Baby!”—in a quiet yet happy mood. Hozier compares being in love with someone to the apocalypse; that it’s scary and pivotal, but at the same time, anxious for a new start. Hozier’s new album is an all-around great album, and we hope that some highlight tracks from this album will hit the airwaves pretty frequently soon.
Favorite track: “Wasteland, Baby!”