Rating the Songs from Hozier's Album, Wasteland, Baby!

Most people know Hozier for his iconic 2013 song, Take Me to Church, but in 2019, Hozier released his fifth album consisting of fifteen songs, Wasteland, Baby! In this article, I will be rating each of the songs on his newest album.

 

Nina Cried Power (featuring Mavis Staples)

This was originally released as a single in 2018 but it was added onto the album a year later nonetheless. This song is POWERFUL, especially with everything going on in the world today. While Hozier wrote it for the Irish Revolution (as he hails from Ireland), it could still be applied to so many situations anywhere in the world. I would definitely say that this is the song that you just have to stop everything and focus on the words because the lyrics just hit so hard every single time. Every time I listen to Nina Cried Power, I get absolute chills. With the addition of a background choir and Mavis Staples, it truly is a beautiful song. Personally, this is one of my favorite songs off of the album. 

 

Favorite line: “Power has been cried by those stronger than me/Straight into the face that tells you to rattle your chains if you love being free.”

Rating: 12/10

 

Almost (Sweet Music)

This song depicts the narrator trying to move on from his ex-partner. He’s with another girl, but he still cannot get over his ex, as much as he desperately wants to. He truly cares for the new girl, but he still cannot help but think of his ex. He doesn’t feel like himself so he starts listening to jazz songs that are helping him calm down and get his “color back.” Throughout the song, he is listing all of the songs that have helped him, which personally I did not notice until I looked up the lyrics and saw half of them were in quotations, signifying a song. It almost seems like Hozier's personally telling his listeners that music can help people and that he is no stranger to needing music to save us.

 

Favorite line: “I’ve got some color back, she thinks so, too/I laugh like me again, she laughs like you.”

Rating: 8/10

 

Movement

The narrator is so in awe of his partner in this song. He is so entranced with how his partner moves and wants nothing more than to move the way they do. When I first listened to the album, this is the song that stood out to me the most and was instantly my favorite. It starts out so pure and gentle and then it soon turns into something passionate, which shows the duality of love and how relationships can be super pure and gentle but can also be fiery and passionate. He just wants to see his partner’s movements, but then he’s saying “help me be like you, teach me.” I think he's openly admitting to his partner that he believes that his partner is a better person than him and wants help to be better.

 

Favorite line: “When you move/Honey, I’m put in awe of somethin’ so flawed and free.” 

Rating: 12/10

 

No Plan

I love the vibes of this song. Hozier is able to talk about harrowing topics and disguise them with a song that makes you want to chill with the windows down. No Plan follows the narrator of the song talking to someone (presumably someone they are romantically interested in) about slowing down and that feeling pain is okay. They are telling this person to enjoy the lighter moments and not dwell on the negative ones because the negative ones will come back, so why think about them when it’s not currently bad? I like this song because it honestly is so true to everyday life and it makes sense why Hozier made the song sound like something you want to dance to, to openly enjoy and feel happy, because he has no idea what his listeners are going through, so he wants to put a smile on their faces.

 

Favorite line: “The harder the pain, honey, the sweeter the sun.”

Rating: 8/10

 

Nobody

This song is definitely one of the most upbeat songs from the album, if not the most upbeat song. It’s such a sweet song! I know I keep saying that, but he keeps repeating that the love he is experiencing with his current partner is unlike any love he has ever experienced before. And since discovering this new love, he wants nothing more than to be loved by this person. He’s tried so much to replicate the love he feels from this person but nothing can compare and he feels almost unworthy of it as he keeps calling himself a “nobody.”

 

Favorite line: “I’d be appalled if I saw you ever try to be a saint/I wouldn’t fall for someone I thought couldn’t misbehave.”

Rating: 8/10

 

To Noise Making (Sing)

Okay, maybe this is the most upbeat song in the album (sorry, Nobody). He’s telling someone to express joy however they can. Part of me thinks that this person used to love to sing but has lost all happiness that has become associated with it and perhaps is dealing with a depressive state. The narrator is encouraging the person to sing but realizes and tells them that if they sing something sad, then the world will be sad. Another part of me thinks that this song is Hozier, yet again, speaking directly to the listener, telling them to just sing and don’t care how other people will react because singing brings joy.

 

Favorite line: “You don’t have to sing it nice, but honey sing it strong/At best, you find a little remedy, at worst the world will sing along.”

Rating: 8.5/10

 

As It Was

This song sounds so hauntingly beautiful. Hozier is singing about returning to his love, and how he’s tried all of these wonderful things in life, but the only thing he could equate them to was his love. The song almost feels dark and heavy, which fits a lot of what Hozier writes. It feels like he’s almost pleading to his lover, telling them that he’s almost looking for salvation in the most unconventional ways.

 

Favorite line: “My heart is screaming out/And in a few days I would be there, love/Ever here that’s lived in me is yours just as it was”

Rating: 7/10

 

Shrike

Hozier is able to write all sorts of love songs, sweet ones such as Like Real People Do, or one that is written from the point of desperation, like Shrike. I see this song as someone asking their former lover to take them back. They are pleading that they have changed and they learned from their mistakes. You can even hear the pleading tone from Hozier. My sister had to inform me that a Shrike is a type of predator bird which I thought was very interesting that Hozier decided to call this song and the ex-lover of the song’s speaker after a bird that is occasionally referred to as a butcherbird.

 

Favorite line: “Remember me love when I am reborn/As a shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn.”

Rating: 8.5/10

 

Talk

This song is FULL of lovely language, calling himself “the last shred of truth” and the “sweet feeling of release” and even talks about Greek mythology. The narrator of this song has his eye on a woman and wants her to be his so badly so he’s trying to butter her up with all of these sweet messages in an attempt for her to reciprocate his feelings. At the end of the song, the narrator slips up and says that the only reason he’s using these fancy words and references to Greek mythology is to distract this woman from his actual intentions. I think the story that Hozier portrays in this song is so interesting and I think he does a really beautiful job in making it a reality.  

 

Favorite line: “I’d be the last shred of truth/In the lost myth of love”

Rating: 9/10

 

Be

This song is full of interesting references, from Greek mythology (Atlas), Christianity (Adam, Eden, and St. Peter), and even Trump. The narrator of the song is encouraging his lover to not conform to society and to help free him. But in the same way, he keeps talking about the beginning of humanity, hence so many references to Adam and Eve. While there are messages about the narrator wanting his lover to be free, there are also allusions to him telling the earth to return to its natural state before humanity destroyed it. 

 

Favorite line: “Be like a love that discovered the sin/That freed the first man, would do so again”

Rating: 9.5/10

 

Dinner & Diatribes

This song is essentially Hozier singing about how much he does not want to go to social events. Honestly, I relate. He’s saying that all he wants to do is spend time with this partner and not have to deal with the awkward small talk. Hozier even described it shortly after its release as a “playful number that tries to credit that feeling of relief when leaving any tedious social engagement.” I also didn’t know what diatribe meant when I first heard the song, but it’s basically a very heated rant, so the song is aptly named by Hozier’s distaste for awkward dinner parties and that the song itself is a diatribe.

 

Favorite line: “Honey, I laugh when it sinks in/A pillar I am of pride/Scarcely can speak for my thinking/What you’d do to me tonight” 

Rating: 9/10

 

Would That I

This song talks about a past relationship. Hozier is comparing his ex to a willow tree that her love had a soothing effect on him. But he recognizes that his relationship had an inevitable end, but then it shifts from the somber first verse to the chorus, which was a powerful proclamation that heartbreak belongs in the past and that he is in awe of his new partner. He describes his new love as a fire that he hopes will be good to him. However, he is blinded by her and doesn’t see her true, potentially destructive self.

 

Favorite line: “Watching still living roots be consumed by the flame/I was fixed on your hand of gold/Laying waste to my lovin’ long ago”

Rating: 8/10

 

Sunlight

This song makes me think of pure and very passionate love. It’s like the kind of love where you are willing to risk everything for this person. He compared himself to Icarus, a figure in Greek mythology who died because of his curiosity and his newfound love for his freedom. The narrator of the song is so drawn to this person it’s almost like a moth to the light. It's like they have to be near them to survive; it’s instinct to be with them. You can hear the intensity in Hozier’s voice and that adds to the passion of the lyrics.

 

Favorite line: “Know that I would gladly be/The Icarus to your uncertainty”

Rating: 9/10

 

Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)

This song is a counter against some taboo subjects within the church, as is a very common theme within Hozier’s music. He basically is like “who cares, it’s our life” to his partner, and they should be able to do whatever they please without the fear of judgment from anyone. He is telling his lover throughout the song that whatever they choose to do within their relationship should be for them to decide and no matter what they do, it’s a loving act, no matter if anyone views it otherwise.

 

Favorite line: “All reason flown, as God looks on in abject apathy/A squall, and all of me is a prayer in perfect piety”

Rating: 10/10

 

Wasteland, Baby!

The title song of the album, Hozier uses the apocalypse both figuratively and literally to describe falling in love. Hozier compares the feeling of fear to the moment individuals fall in love with each other. Then the apocalypse setting is taken quite literally, with Hozier and his lover holding each other in this bleak Armageddon. The song very much as the feeling of “no matter what happens, no matter the world we live in, I have you, and that makes my world a good one.” So, it’s a very sweet and positive message despite the stark contrast to the song’s setting.

 

Favorite line: “When the stench of the sea and the absence of green/Are the death of all things that are seen and unseen/Not an end, but the start of all things that are left to do”

Rating: 10/10