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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

On March 22, Hozier released a new EP titled Unheard. Coming off the release of his latest album, Unreal Unearth, back in August, the Unheard EP features four unreleased songs that previously didn’t quite make the cut. But make no mistake, these songs are anything but castoffs. 

Unreal Unearth follows the structure of Dante Alighieri’s poem Inferno, which details the nine circles of Hell. We begin in the third circle, gluttony, with the first track on the EP, “Too Sweet.” If you were on HozierTok at all during March, you probably could not stop hearing a snippet of this song. “I’ll take my whiskey neat, my coffee black and my bed at three,” Hozier sings in the chorus. The song consistently references the narrator’s inability to have a normal sleep schedule, to drink anything but the strongest substances or to fully detach from work. However, his partner is “as soft as the rain…as sweet as a grape,” acting as a juxtaposition to the narrator’s overindulgence in life. “Too Sweet” is undercut with an enticing bassline and rolling melody that I can’t help but hum throughout my day. It has quickly become a Hozier classic, and I can’t wait to see what else happens with “Too Sweet.”

We flow into the next song accompanied by whistling birds, reminiscent of “Cherry Wine,” a song from Hozier’s self-titled album. “Wildflower and Barley” is a warm duet between Hozier and Allison Russell. I was not previously familiar with Allison’s music at all, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard how well their voices and styles blended. Hozier explains that this song was written at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, describing that it is “referencing the stillness and the sort of eerie unhappy quiet of living in the countryside or living in the city.” Through lyrics like “I feel as useful as dirt, unreal unearth,” Hozier underscores the importance of the environment and the perpetual renewal of the Earth. The flora in the title of the song, wildflower and barley, extends this idea; barley is an important crop from Hozier’s native Ireland. “Wildflower and Barley” is my siren song and I have not seen enough people talk about how gorgeous it is. Allison Russell is also the opening act for Hozier’s next run of shows in the USA (including the one I’m going to in June!!!), so we can only hope this song makes it onto the setlist.

The next song should not even be on an EP; it belongs on a soundtrack. “Empire Now” plays sweeping electronic strings mixed with bass and guitar that transport you to another dimension. Encompassing the seventh circle of Hell (violence), Hozier tells the story of a bright land unshackled from the rule of an empire. Many view this as a reference to Ireland’s war and subsequent independence from Britain in 1922. “One hundred years from the empire now” makes sense if the song was written in 2022. “Empire Now” deviates a bit sonically from other Hozier tracks, but its newer sound explores both the power of revolution and new-age rule. While I probably wouldn’t listen to this in a daily rotation, it is a powerful addition to Hozier’s work. I really love when he talks about politics in his songs (see my two favorites: “Nina Cried Power” and “Jackboot Jump”) because music is such an incredible vehicle to express his views. More songs like “Empire Now” please!

The understated conclusion to Unheard is “Fare Well.” Lyrically, I really enjoy the verses’ use of hyphenated phrases; “A-kitten-cozy-in-the-engine type of wouldn’t fare well” and “A-whale-swimming-up-Sumida-Gawa type of wouldn’t fare well” being my two favorites. Hozier explained that this song is meant to fit into Dante’s first circle of ascent – the only place where souls don’t experience constant agony. Therefore, the lifting sounds complement its message of finding happiness in hardship and existing with both “joy” and “disaster.” This one doesn’t stand out to me in Hozier’s discography as a whole, but it has a certain charm nonetheless. The more I listened to it writing this piece, the more it grew on me.

Overall, I really love the stories Unheard takes listeners on. It is definitely a welcome addition to the journey that is Unreal Unearth. If you are already obsessed with Hozier or are looking to get into his music, Unheard is a great EP to explore.

Emma is a first-year student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a new staff member of the Pitt chapter, and enjoys writing about pop culture, music, tv/movies, and food. She is majoring in Anthropology and currently looking into a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. She is also a Chancellor's Scholar through the Honors College. Emma is interested in foodways and the cultural artifacts associated with food production, and plans to research cultural food knowledge in a study abroad program. In the past, she was Business Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s yearbook and wants to bring her communication and leadership skills to Her Campus. Emma is also a member of the Anthropology Club and Eat @ Pitt. In her free time, Emma loves to read, play guitar, cook, hang out with friends, and obsess over anything Taylor Swift related.