Rejoice! Break into your favorite abandoned building and shout from the rooftops: “Hozier has returned from the wild and he brings sweet musical tidings!” Hozier’s’ sophomore album Wasteland, Baby! cradles the listener’s head and whispers “it’s okay” as the world burns around them.
It’s been three years since Hozier’s freshman album came to us as a gift from nowhere, and just as abruptly he seemed to retreat to his forest seclusion. But he’s back now with Wasteland, Baby! featuring rhythms that reverberate in your eardrums and lyrics begging to be sung.
Wasteland, Baby! is an album about the end of the world and the man-made destruction that isn’t being addressed. Hozier describes finding love, beauty, and humor in an otherwise depressing world landscape. Hozier articulates that it is not enough to just be “woke” but that we must be active in order to change the world before it’s too late.
Hozier lays out from the first track “Nina Cried Power” that young people have the power to make a change and says that being activist is not enough,: “It’s not the waking, it’s the rising.”
The titular song, which is last on the album, caps things off beautifully. Hozier opts for quieter vocals, singing softly over intricately plucked guitar strings — it’s a song that should never end. When the album ended I couldn’t listen to anything for a while. The song lulls the listener into a trance—if you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were lucid dreaming.
One downfall of the album is that some of the songs almost blend together. But that’s just Hozier’s musical aesthetic: haunting lyrics thick with melodic molasses dripping over your ears (just not as messy).
And this album overwhelms your musical taste buds just like molasses, too; it’s sticky, sweet, and bitter all at once in its message and content. Wasteland, Baby! is just short of one hour. One suggestion if you’re listening to it for the first time in its entirety: I suggest walking barefoot on the beach or driving through the mountains because it will be the best hour in your day.