Throughout the past four years, a multitude of both national and international events have caused artists to voice their opinions through craft, speeches and social media. However, no one really heard much from Andrew Hozier-Byrne – until now. Hozier dropped his extended play record (EP) entitled “Nina Cried Power” on Thursday, September 6 and it did not disappoint.
For lovers of “Work Song” and “Like Real People Do,” “Nina Cried Power” will provide you four angsty, gospel and soul-rich songs to have you reflecting on your place in the world. Hozier is clearly politically aware of what is happening around the world, as he attended the Stand For Truth papal protest in Dublin last month, and his high-flown lyrics will encourage you to stand up to social injustices with him.
Let’s start with the single in which the EP is named after, “Nina Cried Power.” This single is all about protest and standing up for what’s right. Throughout the song he references other major artists who, over time, have also created music encouraging people to fight for what they believe in. These artists include James Brown, John Lennon and, of course, Nina Simone. The single “Nina Cried Power” comes with two seperate choruses and a Mavis Staples appearance. This song is meant to get people to move, to act and to fight.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hozier said, “The fights that took place 100 years ago or 200 years ago for whatever — civil rights or workers’ right etc. — don’t stop … There is no final victory.”
The album truly has variety, as the explicit “NFWMB” single stands for “No one fucks with my baby.” With an edgy title like that, one would think the single came with a hard base or some chanting lyrics – but, no. In true Hozier fashion “NFWMB” features his acoustic guitar. It’s a little awkward having what should probably be a romantic or relationship-appreciation song be sung in such a solemn tone, but hey, that’s Hozier’s MO right?
Sitting in his pocket, Hozier reaches the single that mimics his typical blues style, “Moment’s Silence.” A song with another powerful message, “Moment’s Silence” talks a lot about sexual orientation and action in the face of the church. Hozier sings, in his classic baritenor vocal range, about the irony of the church viewing sex as a sin when pursued for simple pleasure or acted orally, when in recent events church officials have done just that.
Rounding out the four-song EP is the big finish “Shrike.” A shrike is a songbird, but an aggressive one. It’s commonly known for attacking its prey with its hooked beak (don’t worry I didn’t actually know that, I Googled it). Starting out again with an acoustic guitar, this time much more complicated, Hozier introduces a melody that immediately causes one to think of a bird. His voice low and sultry, Hozier reminisces on his life, being young and moving away – thus, giving up his relationship – and then realizing he wants to go home. Here we also see Hozier’s Indie/Folk tendencies shine through the way he weaves his lyrics together.
This is the EP Hozier fans needed. The arc covers a powerful opener, encouraging fans to take charge and stand up for what’s right, followed by an angsty single that leads into a calmer, more classic Hozier song and concludes with a slow, deep melody that accompanies reflective lyrics. Hozier is someone who knows the value of time. He wants his music to be shared and not wasted. His lyrics speak from his soul and encourage others to hone in on their own emotions . Hozier encourages people to think about where they stand in the world. His full album is expected to be released in 2019.