Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Hozier: The master of male beauty and vulnerability

Hoziers ‘Unheard’ is short, but not ‘Too Sweet’
Photo courtesy of Pitchfork magazine.

Since his 2014 hit “Take Me To Church,” Irish musician Hozier he has become an internet sensation with his soulful, suave singing and pouring of deep affection into his songs. Many social media posts have circulated about how Hozier’s discography is rare compared to other mainstream male musicians today because of his romantic fervor. His emotional vulnerability is refreshing for a time of self-proclaimed ‘alpha-males’ and nonchalant situationships.

On social media and in his music, Hozier is also outspoken about his stances on human rights issues, which is one of the things that attracts his fans – his ability to share raw emotion surrounding his political and moral views.

His passionate, melancholic sound coupled with thought provoking and reflective lyricism continues to draw in new listeners. His music is categorized in the alternative, soul, rock and folk categories. His last EP, “Nina Cried Power” was released in September 2018, followed by his second album “Wasteland, Baby!” with songs included from the EP. He has slowly released various singles since 2021, and his sixth EP “Eat Your Young” in March 2023. This EP hinted at finally an upcoming studio album, “Unreal Unearth” that has now been released.

Hozier announced in February that he is set to go on tour and followed the announcement on March 22 with his new EP “Unheard” last month. The “Unheard” EP has many mythological and biblical references of descent into various parts of hell, and the Seven Deadly Sins. Some fans, and Hozier himself, purport the EP uses inspiration from works such as Dante’s “Inferno,” which he explores on his subsequent album. In a Twitter video, the Irishman detailed what each track on “Unreal” represents.

The EP’s lead single “Too Sweet” has not only gone viral on social media but reached no. 1 on multiple charts. The duration and texture of the song is satisfying, with beautiful lyrics of authenticity towards his lover; he depicts a couple who have opposite personalities and viewpoints. Hozier’s perspective compares his slow-paced and maybe slightly overindulgent qualities with the kind, strict and untiring characteristics of his lover. He examines his possible faults while suggesting taking a step back and enjoy things.

The EP then moves into “Wildflower and Barley” with Allison Russell — a beautiful, somber and slow song — which creates a momentous beauty with its lyrics. It illustrates a stagnant couple who want a change. Lyrics like, “Some close to the surface, some close to the casket / I feel as useful as dirt, put my body to work,” convey that there is a sense of restlessness between the two. It is a fantastical song that gives a paradox of  light-heartedness intermixed with gloom.

While the first two tracks of Hozier’s EP could be prescribed to relationships, he is also not afraid to articulate that songs can have personal meanings alongside being about social issues and oppression. The lyrics of “Empire Now” are inspirational in a revolutionary way. They are about perseverance and feeling a sense of independence and freedom from things that are tearing you down. It is much more intense and mystical than the other songs. The incidental music feels as if this song could be in a historical drama or documentary with its grandiose sound. It is easy to see how it could relate to the story of Irish freedom from British rule since both the music and Hozier himself are very vocal on this topic.

The EP’s closing track is “Fare Well.” Lyrics in the post chorus, “Joy, disaster, come unbound here / I’ll deny me nonewhile I’m allowed / With all things above the ground” illustrate the song’s message of perseverance. Hozier’s songs, much like “Fare Well” show that music can unite us and help us through life’s difficulties. With calm melodies and beats, Hozier’s “Unheard” tastefully portrays themes of change in one’s relationships and life.

Milagros Smith can be reached at [email protected].

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