Irish singer Hozier grew to fame with 2013’s “Take Me To Church,” and his subsequent album Hozier. With his debut, Hozier touches on topics such as homophobia and domestic abuse, and the singer-songwriter continues to tackle tough subjects and love on his sophomore release, Wasteland, Baby! 

Sitting at a hefty 14 tracks, Wasteland, Baby! carries a sense of societal doom and gloom, while also containing a multitude of love songs. The comparison of falling in love to the apocalypse on the title track is sort of the beacon for the album — despite its position at the bottom of the tracklist. Its sweet acoustic guitar and whispered lyrics are somewhat of a relief from the heavy-hitting second half of the album. 

The album opens with three previously released songs. The powerful “Nina Cried Power (feat. Mavis Staples)” opens the album and pays homage to music greats such as Nina Simone and James Brown. Similarly the following “Almost (Sweet Music)” and “Movement” have equally strong impacts. It’s a bold way to open an album, but it also has some pitfalls.

With three of the five previously released songs sitting at the top of the album, it means the rest of the tracks have some work to do — and they mostly succeed. The album never slacks with the songs’ poetic lyrics and Hozier’s signature vocals, but it’s not necessarily an album to listen to from start to finish.

Nonetheless, the album is impressive. With each song solely written by Hozier himself, he continually seems to emanate art into his lyrics. Sonically, the singer resides in blues rock but also transpires some elements of traditional R&B as well as a more folk-driven rock into the album.

Despite the melancholic themes of love, the album is surely a showcase of Hozier’s maturation not only as an artist but a person as well. It’s poetic, concise and everything one would want from a sophomore album. Though the singer may still be living under the cloud of success from “Take Me To Church,” it’s clear to see he’s found his place in the music world. It’s a place where his creativity, lyricism and artistry reign free, but overall, it’s the place that fostered the grandiose Wasteland, Baby!

Rating: 4/5


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