3.11.19 hozier

Stars: 5/5

After almost five years of not releasing music, Hozier is back — and better than ever.

Choosing to take such a large break before releasing a new album isn’t exactly unheard of, but in the “Take Me To Church” singer’s case, it’s caused a great deal of curiosity and excitement surrounding his return. He seemingly disappeared into the woods for a while, but following the release of “Wasteland, Baby!” I get why he took so long.

Many artists have a powerful voice, some are skilled when it comes to producing instrumentals, and few can compose lyrics that both sound good and have meaning. Hozier somehow does it all.

Hozier’s style is a blend of blues, rock and folk that is specific only to him. His songs are personal and poetic, but they somehow dodge the brand of “pretentious.” In one word, his style is individual, and “Wasteland, Baby!” is a perfect example.

The artist’s sophomore album is a diverse mix of 14 tracks, from the airy “Would That I” to the heavy bassline of “Dinner & Diatribes”. Each song is a combination of different influences, old and new. He isn’t afraid to blend and borrow from different genres, and that’s what makes his music great.

Through his mixing of styles, poetic lyricism and down-to-earth vibe, the singer-songwriter manages to create something both timeless and complex. His music isn’t stale, but it isn’t obnoxiously trendy either.

Though his first album is still fantastic, Hozier’s second album does one major thing differently: it shows his strength.

When he first began writing music, his songs were more personal to him. He told tales of his past loves and memories of childhood, but his scope didn’t really expand. Now, that’s beginning to change.

The first single released, “Nina Cried Power” is a jazzy, gospel-inspired shout out to artists past and present who took a stand for what they believe in. After five years of silence, Hozier came out screaming.

Next came “Almost (Sweet Music)”, an upbeat transition into more personal relationships and topics with a background of artistic appreciation.

The rest of the album continues with the same passion. Folky steel guitar and heavy bass riffs couple with lyrics worthy of a poetry collection, all while Hozier’s impressive vocal range turns his voice into an instrument in and of itself. It’s just so good.

His self-composed tracks are, above all, an ode to music and art. He thanks his influences while telling his own story, a combo bound to leave a mark on the music industry for years to come.

In summary, “Wasteland, Baby!” is a celebration of individuality and a nod to the past, all combined into something you would actually want to listen to.

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