The modern-day Shakespeare, the master of yearning, the forest prince that shows up every 5 years and blesses our lives with his heavenly voice, mister Hozier himself, is finally back! OH my god I’m excited about this one! After having released his previous album “Wasteland Baby!” in 2019 to great success, he has finally grazed us with his glorious new album “Unreal Unearth”. This is the third studio album that this man has released, and I am happier than ever. Let’s get into it!
The album consists of 16 beautiful tracks that tell stories. Whenever I listen to this man’s albums I deep dive into the thought behind every word, the interviews, lyric analysis etc. And I found out that the album structure is inspired by Dante’s Inferno, more specifically, the 9 circles of hell. And you know what? I have coincidentally been reading that book this year, so I was thrilled to find out about that. This album like most of Hozier’s music explores themes like apocalypse, sin, death, life, mythology, religion, heaven, and hell. No song goes without making you feel something absolutely ethereal.
The album starts with a two-parter, being “De Selby”, the first part starts with a beautiful guitar melody, building up with strings, and finally you hear his majestic voice. The song pulls you into what you can imagine as a post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s soft, soothing, and haunting in a way. The song builds up to a choir and finishes beautifully into a transition to part two. And that transition is so satisfying! One thing to note already in the first song and throughout the remainder of the album is that Hozier sings some phrases in Irish Gaeilge, which is one of the Celtic languages spoken in Ireland – where Hozier is from. It is really great to witness him embracing his heritage in that way, and it really shows in the song “Butchered Tongue” later in the album, where he addresses a part of Irish history where the English inflicted several brutal actions upon Irish rebels. The Gaeilge phrases in the songs really makes it all feel very raw and authentic, which is not unlike Hozier at all.
As mentioned, the album structure is loosely based on Dante’s Inferno and the 9 circles of hell. If you’re not familiar with this, it is a story about Dante being guided through the 9 circles of hell as he tries to find back to his deceased love. What’s fun about it all is that you can place all the songs in the circles. For an example, the song “Eat Your Young” can be tied to the third circle, which is Gluttony. The song “Francesca” can be correlated with the second circle which is Lust. This all makes sense if you’re interested in Dante’s Inferno, and as a writer this was very fun to analyse and get into. An absolute favourite song of mine from this album is “Son of Nyx”, which is actually an instrumental track. I could write a lot about it, but let’s just say that listening to it literally made me feel like I was the one traveling through all the circles of hell. It’s absolutely terrifying, exciting and an absolute masterpiece. I digress, but if you’re somewhat poetic, I’d recommend sitting down with the lyrics to all of these songs. There are some truly gorgeous lines to cry to, I promise. He could mask the death of the world in a cheery love song, and I think that’s absolutely magical.
I could talk about how Hozier has changed my brain chemistry for hours, but I’ll try to shorten this down. The vibe of this whole album can only be described as dark, comforting, ethereal and soul cleansing. The use of heavy choir, strings, and haunting vocals in general, really reminds me of the “Take me to Church” Hozier from 2013, and I love it. The album is perfect for the fall, it gives warm and cheery vibes, as well as dark and depressing for those of us who thrive on that (aka me). I’ve listened to this album for multiple days in a row and I can’t get tired of it. Hozier’s voice, lyrics and thought process behind it all will always bring me some sort of comfort. I can’t say that this album is my favourite out of all three albums, but it’s definitely a masterpiece of its own.
Favourite tracks to cry myself to sleep to:
- “Son of Nyx”
- “First light” (which is an absolute banger of an ending to the whole album)
- “Eat Your Young
- “De Selby (Part 2)
Favourite soul-crushing lyrics:
“You called me angel for the first time, my heart leapt from me. You smile now, I can see its pieces still stuck in your teeth.”
“If I could hold you for a minute, darling I’d go through it again.”
“If the wind turns, if I hit a squall, allow the ground to find its brutal way to me.”
“I have never known a silence, like the one fallen here. Never watch my future darken in a single tear.”