Hozier has us Hollering


Christina Terasavage, Staff Reporter

Hoozier, Hozeer, Hozer? Irish native and famous “Take Me To Church” singer, Hozier, last released music when his first album dropped in 2015. After three years, Hozier is back, having dropped a tiny collection of songs from his EP titled “Nina Cried Power” on Sept. 6.

Hozier is well known for his unique, folk sound. This EP brings that same sound back, but with a few twists. In regards to lyrics, older Hozier hits like “Take Me To Church” and “Like Real People Do” feature lyrics that are usually straightforward and quite relatable, right off the bat. One of his new songs on the EP, “Shirke,” makes the audience listen harder and think a little bit more about what the words are supposed to mean, rather than what they are saying. This EP, lyric-wise, is much more poetic than his albums in the past. An artist’s sound can change a lot in three years. When asked what style his album follows this time around in an interview with National Public Radio, Hozier replied with, “I think musically it’s a logical step forward from previous records. The influences are all still there — the influence I had growing up — blues music and soul music, etcetera.”

After listening to all four songs, I can say that this album definitely upholds his traditional, folk-bluesy style. The fourth track on the EP, titled “Shrike,” is a testament to this. The intro is extremely reminiscent of the popular hit “Cherry Wine,” for both songs share gentle guitar solos, featuring delicate, folk melodies.

In the same interview with NPR, Hozier disclosed that the album was influenced by the political climate in the past year, saying, “I hope it’s taken with a bit of a pinch of salt. There is definitely a kind of wry smile to the work, but it takes place with a great shadow hanging over, I suppose the end of the world kind of hanging over the album a little bit. But that is enjoyed in the best way possible. It’s a hard one to describe. There’s even optimism in that, and a lot of the work is very hopeful and very warm, but it still takes place in a very desperate place.” Staying true to his answer here, the third track, titled “Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue),” captures his thinking, in that although the world is full of chaos and hypocrisy, one’s love is enough to gain silence from all the noise. The song has a faster pace than “Shrike,” and with that, its sound leans more toward bluesy-rock tones. The last two songs on the EP, “NFWMB” and “Nina Cried Power,” showcase Hozier’s classic folk tones while introducing a new sound of gospel mixed with alternative.

“NFWMB” is a folk-blues-rock arrangement with a slow beat from the continuation of a deep drumming throughout the song’s entirety. This track starts with Hozier almost whispering in falsetto and then gradually gets louder as the song reaches its emotion-packed chorus. The EP’s title song, “Nina Cried Power,” is an anthem fueled by the mixture of alternative and gospel styles. This song is my personal favorite because of the way the powerful gospel melodies play with classic alternative-rock tones. Hozier’s aim with this piece was to, “credit the actuality of hope, solidarity and love found in the human spirit at a time when their opposites were being given a mainstream platform 24/7, said Hozier. He continued, “In many ways the song is a thank you note to the legacy of artists from the 20th century whose work still inspires us, and whose well we draw from in times of uncertainty.”

Although “Nina Cried Power” is a small collection of only four songs, they have given us a substantial taste of what the upcoming album will hold.. Hozier also announced that he is going on his first U.S. and Canada tour since 2015. The 17-city North American Tour starts Sept. 15 and will end on Oct. 22.