Hozier, 'Wasteland, Baby!' – Review
by Caitlin McFarlane
It’s hard to compare Hozier to other artists of our time due to his unique soulful music. Known for addressing problems of homophobia and domestic violence in his music, Hozier’s new album ‘Wasteland Baby’ tackles these issues – and others – head-on. His unapologetic lyrics once again make people listen as well as see the harsh reality of the world we live in today. Although the subject matter of Hozier’s second studio album is heavy, the album is still arguably an easy listen.
The first song on the album, ‘Nina Cried Power’, was released last year in the self-titled EP and does not stray from Hozier’s soulful bluesy style. The song is an ode to artists who were known for raising their voices against injustice and singing about the times they were living in; people such as James Brown and Nina Simone have created a legacy for further generations through their music. The song ‘Movement’ not only has a melody that is composed like a dance (with all its intricacies and minutiae of movements) which fully embodies the concept Hozier had in mind for this song, but it also makes you want to dance along with it. The quiet lyrics in the beginning flutter around only to be then followed by a strong chorus that grabs your attention, just as a dance would. ‘Movement’ is another example of the power in Hozier’s voice in which you hear exactly what he wants you to hear. His most recent single ‘Dinner & Diatribes’ illustrates the dark themes that come with the album, yet manages to still remain quite uplifting. Hozier describes this track as being one of those that display the feeling that comes with social obligations that require your attention when there are far better things to be doing. The eerie vocalisations running throughout the track have a gloomy atmosphere. Yet, there is an excitement about them that leaves you wanting more. Finally, ‘Wasteland, Baby!’ is Hozier’s address to the end of the world, as the song touches on current problems such as climate change (a problem which has recently been on everyone’s mind). The catchy tune is a juxtaposition to the theme expressed throughout, creating an odd and discrepant contrast. This track, when contrasted against ‘Nina Cried Power’, serves as a wakeup call for people to take action and create a legacy of their own.
Once again Hozier has delivered a mesmerizing and moreish album, but an album that nevertheless has a purpose in today’s political and social climate; it is a soulful expression of topics that are hard to talk openly about but that he has, however, done beautifully.