Review: Hozier's Nina Cried Power

Hozier has crawled from beneath his moss-covered rock on the rolling hills of Ireland to bring his fans new music— and he did not disappoint. 

After four years of silence from the “Take Me to Church” singer, Hozier released a four track EP on September 6, titled Nina Cried Power. The EP is a taste of what is to come from his new album, set to be released early 2019. 

In true Hozier fashion, the music is whimsical and transports listeners to another time. Nina Cried Poweris chalked full of blues, old school rock and roll, and folk influences. However, these songs have a much darker tone and sense of urgency to them than Hozier’s self-titled debut album. Rather than using his voice to tell stories of love and wonder, he makes a statement with this album about the apocalyptic state of the world.

In an interview with Billboard, he calls the EP a sampler of the future album. He describes it as “...[the] four corners of the world the album populates... Every song is standing around the same awful bonfire [of the world]. Some of them are optimistic; some of them are terrified; some of them are really looking forward to just burning within it.”

Photo by: Lexus Jacobs

Here’s a track by track review of the EP.

1. “Nina Cried Power

The title track opens this EP with powerful, soulful vocals. The song’s title is a reference to Nina Simone’s song Sinnerman. He also pays homage to freedom-fighting singers like John Lennon, B.B King and Curtis Mayfield in the lyrics. Nina Cried Power is a thank you note to the spirit of protest. Alongside Hozier, Mavis Staples lends her strong vocals to the track giving the song a classic feel. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hozier stated that “Nina Cried Power” is “a suggestion that the battle for equality these artists championed remains an ongoing and necessary one. The fights that took place 100 years ago or 200 years ago for whatever — civil rights or workers' right etc. — don’t stop. There is no final victory.” 

2. “NFWMB (Nobody F***** With My Baby)

After the powerhouse first track, Hozier drops the mood with “NFWMB.” The first few notes sound reminiscent of “It Will Come Back,” a song from his debut album. But the notes flow into a much darker toned, bass guitar heavy song. The contrast of the moodiness of the instrumentals and his soft voice makes this song a treat. This is my favorite song off the EP. 

3. “Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)

Track number three is a bluesy one with lots of kick drum, finger snaps and claps that are sure to get your feet tapping. The song itself seems to be a bit like “Take Me to Church” with its message of sexual persecution. Where “Take Me to Church” is about the persecution of gay people in church, Moment’s Silence is more about the idea of sexual acts being seen as a sin, but indulging in the pleasures anyway. There are lots of references to God that make deciphering the song an interesting task. For example, the lyrics “Me and my babe relaxin' catching manic rhapsody. All reason flown, as God looks on in abject apathy,” could be viewed as God viewing their sensuality as something less important that all the other things happening in the world. 

4. “Shrike

Lastly, “Shrike” brings the EP to an end with a slow, tender love song. The melodic acoustic guitar is beautiful in contrast to the lyrics about a flying back to its love after taking them for granted. A sweet note to end the all too short EP. 

 

Clearly, Hozier has something to say with this album and I can’t wait to listen to the full version. If these four songs represent the whole album, we are surely in for a treat.