Three years after his previous album, “Wasteland, Baby!” Andrew Hozier-Byrne, under the moniker Hozier, has returned with “Eat Your Young.” Though the EP is just three songs long, all three songs highlight his musical and lyrical prowess.
The titular song, “Eat Your Young” begins strong with falsetto interludes before segueing into a jazzy rhythm rife with vocals drenched in reverb. The lyrics then seemingly descend into a hungry frenzy, describing a meal being laid out before clueing the listener into the biblical imagery in the song.
According to an interview with Rolling Stone, while the EP nor the upcoming album “Unreal Unearth” are meant to be concept albums, they were guided by the circles of hell present in Dante’s Inferno, with “Eat Your Young” symbolizing gluttony through ravenous lyricism about devouring food from your table and your young.
“There’s a subtle element and I wanted to be light and playful with it. The album can be taken as a collection of songs, but also as a little bit of a journey. It starts with a descent and I’ve arranged the songs according to their themes into nine circles, just playfully reflecting Dante’s nine circles and then an ascent at the end,” Hozier said.
The latter part of the song also clues listeners into a second meaning, this one more politically charged, which the Irish singer is no stranger to. The final lyrics of the chorus “Skinning the children for a war drum/putting food on the table selling bombs and guns/it's quicker and easier to eat your young” alludes to a deeper anti-war meaning, one that highlights the fact that children are often the primary victims of conflicts.
The second track, though, “All Things End” takes a much different approach, one that trades political and biblical imagery against a jazzy, theatrical backdrop for a very personal subject conveyed in a gospel-like manner. It’s effectively a goodbye note to a relationship. There isn’t much anger present, just a pensive acceptance of the end. This is highlighted well in the lyrics “I know we want this to go easy by being somebody's fault/But we've come long enough to know/This isn't what we want/And that isn't always bad.”
Both of the people in the failed relationship know it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it just wasn’t going to continue working for either of them. They knew that the relationship would end at some point, as all things do.
The final track is much more introspective, though. “Through Me (The Flood)” discusses love, death, and the world as a whole. It’s almost an existential crisis and an existential acceptance set to an orchestral, drum-driven instrumental track. As he reflects on the love he has had and the losses he’s experienced as well as the inevitability of death, he comes to a realization that rather than standing alone as an entity separate from the world, he is merely an extension of it, and the world flows through him.
Overall, Hozier has fully delivered with “Eat Your Young,” leaving fans excited for his upcoming “Unreal Unearth,” which he has stated will be released in late summer.