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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth” is a Masterclass in Songwriting

This newest album by Hozier creates a mythical realm with romantic lyrics and an ethereal, passionate sound.
Photo Courtesy / Youtube Hozier

Hozier’s highly anticipated third album “Unreal Unearth” touches on themes of nature, love and religion, calling back motifs that can be found in Hozier’s previous two albums. The album, released on Aug. 18,  sets apart the rest of his discography in its sense of grandeur, and the journey it brings its listener on. 

Sonically, “Unreal Unearth  feels a lot larger than Hozier’s past two projects, both of which had  a more acoustic overall sound. The production creates big, dramatic sounds,especially prevalent  in tracks  “De Selby Part 2” and “Francesca.” These tracks feature much fuller instrumentals and backing vocals, creating a musical atmosphere that envelops you in sound. Even on the album’s slightly softer, more acoustic songs, like  “I, Carrion (Icarian)” and “First Light.” there is a sense of weight that the songs hold in their lyrics and sound. 

As an artist, Hozier has the ability to use his lyricism in such a poetic way that it almost moves the listeners to another dimension, one that he’s creating through his songwriting. Many of the stories Hozier tells on this album have been inspired by Dante’s “Inferno,” the epic poem that depicts a journey through the nine circles of hell. Hozier ties certain songs to certain circles of hell or certain characters throughout the poem. 

The song “Eat Your Young” is inspired by the circle of greed, shown in the opening lyrics, “I’m starvin’, darlin’, let me put my lips to something, let me wrap my teeth around the world.” 

With the track “Unknown / Nth,” the singer seems to be looking back on a relationship that has ended, yet it’s written in such an adoring manner. “I swam a lake of fire, I’d have walked across the floor of any sea, Ignored the vastness between all that can be seen and all that we believe, so I thought you were like an angel to me.” The thematic elements of personal journey and religion continue to shine through here, additional  inspiration from Dante’s poem, but Hozier’s words dig even deeper, allowing the lyrics to apply to any modern-day breakup. 

On “Unreal Unearth,” Hozier takes listeners on a journey filled with love and heartbreak, while taking on the theme of spirituality. Despite the productional differences in melody, tempo and meaning, the tracks flow together cohesively as an entire body of work. The album proves for a pleasurable listen with its metaphorical journey and poetic lyricism that almost transports the listener into a mythical realm that Hozier created, just with his art. Overall, this album is a pleasure to listen to with its metaphorical journey and poetic lyricism that almost transports the listener into a new realm that Hozier has created with his art.

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About the Contributor
Molly Downs, Culture Editor
Molly is a senior English major with a minor in Creative Writing serving her second year as Culture Editor for The Torch. Outside of her role at The Torch, you can find her reading a book on the Great Lawn, listening to one of her many playlists, or watching one of her favorite movies, like “Little Miss Sunshine.” Molly can be reached at [email protected]
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