Wasteland, Baby! - Somewhere Hozier definitely is not.
The last album we had from Hozier was back in 2014 & for a while, I thought he had given up.
I know Hozier released some EPs over the last couple of years & that was great, but considering the buzz he created when he stepped onto the scene, all the way until his self titled album, I think I speak for most people when I say that another album had been long overdue & to be frank, we all thought the worst. Perhaps this was never a concern for the most loyal of fans, yet some doubts regarding quality/creativity must have come creeping in at some stage, especially when it hit the 4 year mark.
All that being said, 5 years later & here we have Wasteland, Baby! I can only presume Hozier’s touring had finally come to a temporary close & he could finally finish and/or release his latest project. I’m not going to sit here and say ‘it’s been worth the wait!’, because I just don’t think it’s hugely impressive. However, it’s not unimpressive either, so what exactly do we have here? Well, we have an album filled with your typical Hozier sounds/vibes, which, of course, is no bad thing & it also includes some songs you could expect to hear on future soundtracks of movies, series, TV advertisements etc. Hozier brings a particularly high level of integrity, soul & originality to his music, which is why I think people like him as much as they do.
The opening of Wasteland, Baby! is a really strong song to start with. ‘Nina Cried Power’ ft. Mavis Staple is a track that holds it’s fist into the air to demonstrate a movement. If you listen to the song, then you will know what kind of movement Hozier is referring to. It’s also like walking into a room where you haven’t been to in a while (for e.g. the album launch room) & shouting from the top of your voice to let everyone know you’re back with a bang (Wasteland, Baby!).
The song that follows the above is ‘Almost’, which is a pleasant song that sparked, what I could only describe, as joy. This is something that Hozier does so well & with such simplistic instruments. He proves over & over again that you don’t need much to make a good song. You just need to be committed, stay true to yourself/artistry & the rest will follow.
One last song that I feel should be mentioned is ‘As It Was’ & although every song has it’s appeal, this song reminds me of a Country & Western movie reaching it’s penultimate moment, or perhaps a scene where by the end is near, reflection of one’s self/acts is at the forefront of one’s mind & there is nothing left do, but ponder upon the thought of what the future has in-store.
I’ve always liked Hozier & even more so, the music he creates. He clearly has star quality & gives the world music we don’t seem to hear much of, if at all, especially on the mainstream charts. Where there was once a void, Hozier has perfectly filled. He sits in a space, where, if it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure too many artists out there could similarly replicate/acquire. Of course, there has to be other musicians out there with styles that come close, but I highly doubt there will be many that can provide what Hozier does. When he releases a song, we don’t just get his music. We also get a part of who he is & as listeners, we value that, nearly as much as the song itself, although, let’s face it, they usually go hand-in-hand, resulting in (most of the time) effortlessly conjured rhythms that satisfy your musical urges, just as much as it stimulates your mind & triggers thoughts you would have never thought, had it not been for the song in question.
Hozier is a great artist & I am glad he’s come back with a strong secondary project. I just hope he doesn’t leave it as long for the album that proceeds this, yet, time will only tell.
What do you think of Wasteland, Baby!? Comment down below!