Hozier returns to the scene, dropping EP ‘Eat Your Young’


Juliet Johnson

Hozier releases new photos from his upcoming album, “Unreal Unearth”.

Kate Kelly, Staff Writer

Good music moves people. It evokes experiences or stories that can be seen through not only melody and rhythm but also lyrical composition. And while good music can come in a variety of forms, there’s one Irish singer who never misses. Andrew Hozier-Byrne, also known as Hozier, is an artist whose focal point is much wider than fame and fortune, and is finally returning to the music industry.

After four years of silence, Hozier has released an EP titled Eat Your Young, an extended preview to his upcoming album Unreal Unearth. While the album does not yet have a planned release date, the EP was dropped on March 17; both the singer’s birthday and St. Patrick’s Day. 

Featuring three tracks, the release is greatly influenced by the ongoing pandemic. While quarantining in Ireland, Hozier explains he spent a majority of his free time self reflecting. Handfuls of his past romantic agony tropes were scratched as he found other issues to focus on.  

In doing so, he read up on a variety of classical pieces, one being Dante’s Inferno. The chilling book is included in a set of poems written by fourteenth-century Italian man, Dante Alighieri. In the Inferno, Dante is guided into the underworld and experiences what is known as the nine circles of Hell. Each concentric circle punishes a different crime, increasing severity with depth. 

Two out of three songs on the EP are inspired by the circles and their sins. The opening track “Eat Your Young” is based on the sin of gluttony, while the following song “All Things End” focuses on heresy. The third of three songs, “Through Me (The Flood)”, is about a world full of loss, alluding to the Covid-19 pandemic. The album title is thought to be a reference to the Inferno itself. 

Personally, I found this a refreshing return of the well-versed artist. Hozier has released two singles since his last album, but neither quite reached the same level of quality that his past albums contained. “Tell It To My Heart” was a complete genre switch, from a soulful folk to a computer generated melody. And while “Swan Upon Leda” was considerably better, it couldn’t compare to classics from Wasteland Baby! and the self-titled album Hozier.

Off the bat, “Eat Your Young” delivers a good tune. While the name initially seems gory, the chorus line “it’s quicker and easier to eat your young” really transfers the strong, gluttonous feeling. One of my favorite qualities of Hozier is his strategic use of volume, having soft moments to then contrast the louder more powerful ones. This trend is especially relevant in “Eat Your Young”. I also enjoyed the mix of drums and string instruments, as the combination created a harmonious balance to feature the singer. Overall, it’s a catchy song I rank second out of the entirety of the EP. 

Second in the EP, but my personal favorite, is the song “All Things End”, a chilling take on the rejection of happy endings. One of my favorite lyrics in this song is the opening line, “if there was anyone to ever get through this life with their heart still intact they didn’t do it right”. I like how he uses a depressing concept in his reassuring lyrics. This song, like many others, features a simple backtrack so you can really hear the signature rasp in his voice. The build up to the chorus maintains the perfect tempo, with his loud, heartfelt belts every so often. Nearing the end of the song, he incorporates a backup choir in an acapella verse, which finishes the song on a strong note. The power in their voices combined with the tempo makes for a moving tune. 

The final song is “Through Me (The Flood)”, but make no mistake; Hozier never disappoints. This track starts initially with very isolated vocals, which are a bit prolonged, but when the beat finally drops it’s worth it. At this point, the pace picks up and you can hear Hozier’s soulful belt through the choir chanting in the background. This song is a reflection of loss and grief, specifically in the pandemic, but yet he manages to make a somewhat empowering environment with his voice. I feel like there’s a less variation in verses compared to the others, proving its ranking. Nonetheless, it’s a good song. 

One consistency throughout all the EP is Hozier’s renowned tendency of abstract lyricism. While I feel like these songs deliver less intricate wording, I really enjoyed the intentions and meaning behind them. 

With the release of his EP, Hozier also announced his upcoming Unreal Unearth Tour 2023, featuring dates across the country. While the full album has not been put out yet, I’m overwhelmingly satisfied with the songs so far. I recommend his music for anyone looking for a mix genre between folk, rock, soul, and blues.