Hozier - Wasteland, Baby! Review
// Image courtesy of Rolling Stones Magazine
With this being his second album, four long years after the release of his self titled, Hozier, the color of the music presented takes a more passionate turn than that of his previous album- where there once was the harrowing ring of “As It Was” or “Sedated”, both of which discuss the painful underside of nostalgia, and the loss of a more simple time, Hozier uses this album as canvas to let in some much needed light, giving way to feelings of eroticism and romance. Though the title may seem contradictory, Wasteland, Baby! is nothing less than a wonderland of one’s deepest desires; Hozier frees himself from the shackles of what is happening around oneself, and instead taps into something much more personal: what’s happening within.
The album takes the form of a progression of a love story: we start with numbers such as “Almost (Sweet Music)”, which begins to illustrate Hozier’s romantic identity as someone who has recovered from heartbreak, and if finding a way to love another with this old wound being a new part of such an identity; we move into the beginnings of Hozier’s exploration of passion with the song “Movement”, which is a musical interpretation of the awe accompanied by the feelings of adoration one may develop when in love. “No Plan” is sure to follow this, signaling the metaphorical release of qualms Hozier experiences as he allows himself to fall completely to the will of his lover, renouncing all worldly ideologies in favor of this relationship. In a way, he is returning to the more primal values of life, relinquishing his grasp on logic or
reason and instead relying solely on his body, and his heart. The continuation of this, naturally, can be found in the progression of “Talk” and “Be”, with lyrics that discuss, above all else, exemplifying the erotic relationship Hozier experiences with his lover, but in a more harrowing, and almost religious, context. “I’d be the last shred of truth in the lost myth of true love” is the way Hozier describes his own role in the physical relationship he has with the one he loves. There is nothing to compare to such an assertion, as Hozier metaphorically hands over every ounce of passion he has left to his audience. “Be” describes the apocalyptic nature the relationship seems to have, as Hozier implores that his “lover be good” to him, in any and all situations. In other words, simply “Be”; love one another in every single moment of every day, across all space and time.
However, the album doesn’t dwell for too long on the sweet side of the subject; the last section of tracks are an ode to love’s agony. One simply cannot have a better understanding of infatuation than the emotional rollercoaster of “Dinner and Diatribes”, which sets the lovers against each other, describing the obsessive nature of their fights, and nonetheless, their absolutely magnetic pull to one another. Hozier brings it all together when he declares that “that’s the kind of love [he’s] been waiting for!”. A job well done indeed.
All in all, there is simply no other way to describe this album than absolutely intoxicating. The story is similar to that of an old man’s ramblings at a bar, but with all of the image and mysticism of the greatest poets. It is as if Eros has sat down with a pen and paper, if only to attempt to convey the woes and glee only love can provide; it is the musical interpretation of being drunk on obsession, infatuation, and passion all in the same elixir.
//Raquel Segars ‘25 is a guest writer for TDS.