Hozier - Wasteland, Baby

Regular price $ 53.99

Hozier's great trick is how he hangs suspended between past and present, drawing upon old forms without sounding traditional. This gift is what fueled "Take Me to Church," a bit of protest neo-gospel that became an unexpected international blockbuster in 2014 -- a success so great, the Irish singer/songwriter was in no need to hurry up with a sequel. He certainly took his time to release Wasteland, Baby!, a sophomore set delivered nearly a half-decade after his debut. Given that lengthy gap, it's appropriate that Wasteland, Baby! feels considered, its every move telegraphing a deliberate decision. That's as true of Hozier's lyrics -- which use Nina Simone and Duke Ellington as signifiers, tying him to a heritage that's not quite his own -- as it is of the ruminative music, which feels contemplative even when the tempo quickens. Hozier may be moody but he doesn't dodge happiness, nor does he avoid modern accouterments. These two trends culminate on "Nobody," a lightly rolling piece of pop-soul that seems nearly ebullient in this context, but even his melancholy moments feel open-hearted. Much of this draws from the same well as "Take Me to Church" -- there's more than a hint of soul and gospel, tempered with arty arena rock that's drawn equally from U2 and Peter Gabriel -- but the overall feeling isn't anguished, it's consoling. It's a subtle but notable shift that lends emotional gravity to a singer/songwriter who already favored weighty topics.

Nina Cried Power 3:46
Almost 3:37
Movement 3:58
No Plan 5:31
Nobody 3:31
To Noise Making (Sing) 3:27
As It Was 3:28
Shrike 4:59
Talk 3:27
Be 4:49
Dinner & Diatribes 3:44
Would That I 4:28
Sunlight 4:17
Wasteland, Baby! 4:27