Singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne — best known as Hozier — stormed the charts in 2013 with his biggest hit and world-renowned song, “Take Me to Church.” A song not actually not about church; but rather the traditional religious discrimination against homosexuality. It now has over two billion plays on Spotify.
However, he’s not a one-hit wonder.
Hozier has long had two meticulously crafted albums. First, “Hozier,” his 2014 debut about heartbreak and happiness followed by “Wasteland Baby!,” his collection of romantic songs about the inevitable apocalypse released in 2019. However, after a four year hiatus, he has released his third album, “Unreal Unearth.” This newest release is about Dante’s Inferno, a poet’s journey into Hell and his escape from it. With all his poetic and religious references, he is undoubtedly becoming the Shakespeare of music.
Hozier’s new album gained popularity well before its release, when earlier this year he teased the spellbinding song, “Eat Your Young,” on TikTok. Despite the track’s small hints towards cannibalism, Hozier explores deeper topics and the inherent immorality of humankind.
Finally, on March 17, 2023, he released the full song alongside the new EP under the same name. True to form, his songs are ruthless and brutally honest. Starting with a strong drum beat that surrounds his eerie singing and stacked harmonies, Hozier revels in his carnivorous biblical imagery and forceful references to war, loss and consumerism, revealing his opinion of mankind: Selfishness pervades all else.
“Seven new ways that you can eat your young,” he sings. “Come and get some / Skinning the children for a war drum / Putting food on the table selling bombs and guns / It’s quicker and easier to eat your young.”
Immediately capturing his TikTok audience, he reeled them in with his exciting melodies and critical view of human nature and humankind’s sinful actions.
The second track of the EP, “All Things End,” touches upon one of his audience’s biggest fears: The inability to stop the fate of relationships.
He touches upon the unintentional invasiveness of our nature to love and our tendency to cling onto other’s hearts, even while knowing that there will always be an end. However, he later sings, “We should not change our plans when we begin again,” explaining the ability to rebuild the strength to find love again, but warning his audience to beware of the cyclical heartbreak of doomed-to-fail relationships.
The last song on his EP is called “Through Me (The Flood).” Harmoniously accompanied by a chorale, the song is both energetic and reflective. His powerful singing is backed by a chorale, creating a sense of unity amongst not just those in the song, but also those listening. The song emphasizes the need to come together in a time of struggle — “no man left behind.”
Looking closer, “Through Me (The Flood)” is about a man who goes through a depressive period of loss and defeat. Similar to “All Things End,” Hozier explains how a man can be broken and rebuilt infinitely before reaching his desired destination — the canon event of human existence.
And finally, on Aug. 18, 2023, the full album, “Unreal Unearth,” was released; included are tracks from the “Eat Your Young” EP, in addition to several entirely new songs.
The tracklist begins with “De Selby (Part 1),” a depiction of Dante’s initial journey into the “Inferno.” The song is, “a calming experience” said Amelia Curran (she/they/he), a first-semester Pharmacy major and avid Hozier listener.
With the next song, “Del Selby (Part 2)” expanding on the first, Curran notes that the transition between part one and two of “De Selby” is “absolutely beautiful.”
Like many of Hozier’s previous releases, “Unreal Unearth” is full of both melancholic and up-beat songs — a perfect blend for listeners who like to have a bit of variety in their playlist!
One of the more somber songs, “Son of Nyx,” is much less played than the other songs, and sadly not for good reason. While the song doesn’t have any lyrics — scaring away many listeners — it is highly underrated and imaginative.
Imagine venturing through a desolate desert in Egypt and rubbing your eyes to rid yourself of the sand blowing in your face. Far in the distance you can see a pyramid and as you get closer and closer, your heart begins to beat faster, you grow afraid but curious of what’s inside. “Son of Nyx” is the perfect song to represent this eerie, yet alluring, situation.
“Son of Nyx” evokes a feeling of euphoria that parallels Dante’s euphoria from beginning the ascent back into the overworld,” said Curran, “the song is a truly impressive feat of composition and shows Hozier’s versatility in songwriting.”
Although the full album is a quick 62 minutes, every second is worth listening to. Hopefully in another five years we’ll be listening to yet another best selling album from Hozier!