Hozier’s debut album proves buzzworthy

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Hozier’s debut album proves buzzworthy

By Katie Adams, Divine Child High School

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Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne–Hozier for short–has found himself a fine niche at the top of the charts with his popular single “Take Me To Church.”

After Hozier’s Saturday Night Live performance, the song has earned substantial radio play and received millions of views on YouTube. But Hozier is no one-hit wonder. His self-titled album’s synergetic mix of garage rock, folksy sentiment, and classic rhythm and blues proves that he is worthy enough to stick around.

Released in September, Hozier’s debut album often serves as a vehicle to air viewpoints on social reform. He’s singing about things that matter to him and to the world. “Take Me To Church” advocates for a ceasefire for gay oppression by established institutions (namely the Russian government) with a guitar melody that almost sounds downright angry. The lyrics challenge hypocrisy and elitism: “That’s a fine-looking’ high horse/ What you got in the stable? We’ve a lot of starving faithful.”

Another important track, “To Be Alone,” unapologetically addresses rape culture: “Never feel too good in crowds/ With folks around, when they’re playing/ the anthems of rape culture loud/ crude and proud.” Hozier’s activist approach is reinforced by the way his impassioned lyrics pair so fittingly with his strong guitar melodies.

However, this album is not a simple bludgeoning of calls for societal change. Hozier also has a talent for writing mellifluous songs about the joys and perils of a relationship, while showcasing his expressive voice. “Jackie and Wilson” puts down a fierce layer of bass guitar and adds on harmonies as Hozier explains how relationships can bring salvation and joy. “Like Real People Do” explores the comfort and security of love, while “From Eden” speaks to the lengths one will go to for their partner.

These songs reflect Hozier’s ability to take himself out of a situation and look at it objectively, while still expressing feelings of personal sentiment. The artist demonstrates a refreshing level of honesty and authenticity in his songs. His soulful foundation is built upon by White Stripes-esque rock in some tracks, and Bob Dylan-esque folk in other tracks.

Hozier accomplishes a brave feat by making an album that ebbs and flows like a well-formed collection of short stories. The record is overall impressive and exciting. Hozier’s lyrical content, both down-to-earth and intricate, is compelling for listeners and notable to be found from a recently obscure 24 year-old artist. The range of topics paired with vocal passion deems Hozier a very promising figure in music for years to come.