Hozier has always been one to speak out on love, but this time, he pairs it with the world’s brokenness.
Five years since his last album, Hozier released his second album Wasteland, Baby! on Friday, Mar. 1. The album displays the singer’s maturity as he portrays themes of life, love and darkness in the world.
Andrew Hozier-Byrne, famously known as Hozier, began writing songs at 15 years old and became popular after the release of his EP Take Me To Church in 2013. A year later, he released his self-titled album Hozier and has since toured internationally, sharing his unique sound with the world.
The album stays true to Hozier’s typical sound, sticking to soulful tracks such as “Nina Cried Power” or fingerpicked guitars in R&B tracks “As It Was,” “Shrike” and “Wasteland, Baby!” However, the artist branches out in “Almost (Sweet Music),” mixing his old sound with an upbeat vibe, or “No Plan,” where the bass gives off a Tame Impala feel.
Aside from sound, the album jumps from exploring past artists’ global and personal impact on society to exploring love and its role within the world’s brokenness.
The opening track, “Nina Cried Power,” pays homage to artists throughout history known for using music to protest prejudice and oppression, including Nina Simone, Woody Guthrie and Mavis Staples, who are featured in the track. The following track, “Almost (Sweet Music),” expresses how classic jazz artists have helped him feel more genuine as he references multiple classic jazz song titles throughout the track.
To begin an album with these two tracks that reflect on how music can shape the world perspective is a powerful statement. From the beginning, it proclaims the remainder of the album should mimic this standard — and it does.
The album touches on the world’s brokenness, presenting another perspective to approaching life. Rather than fretting over life’s hardships, people should accept it. “Be” advises people to stay true to their identity no matter the circumstances, while “To Noise Making (Sing)” suggests music as the ultimate remedy to one’s struggles. The latter ties back to how impactful music can be, which proves the album’s coherence because it doesn’t jump to each idea.
Hozier also introduces ideas of love, emphasizing the benefits of it. From talking about the freshness and excitement it can bring in “Would That I,” to love’s novelty in “Nobody,” the album sets the stage for why love is worth fighting for despite the state of the world.
This idea of apocalyptic darkness is weaved throughout the album and lands in the final track, Wasteland, Baby! which paints a picture of the end of the world. It symbolizes the feeling of falling in love, saying that he and his partner’s love withstands the chaos. This nicely wraps up the album as whole, portraying how love coexists with darkness. In the final stanzas, the speaker claims this ending is just a beginning. This seems almost an awakening to this new-world perspective on life, love and brokenness.
Expressing complex ideas through ingenious lyrics, Wasteland, Baby! proves to display his growth from his previous album which contributes to its strengths and earns this a good rating.