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The Influences Behind Hozier's New Album "Unreal Unearth"

Irish music artist Hozier released his third album, “Unreal Unearth” on August 18th.

Rolling Stone describes the singer-songwriter’s return as such:

“It’s been four years since Hozier’s last album, [...] a wait that’s only allowed the singer’s myth to grow. To his ardent fans, he’s less a normal musician than an ethereal creature that emerges from a bog, shares a sacred song, then vanishes to go flit through the woods.”

Inspired by literature such as Dante’s Inferno, along with other various mythologies, Hozier evokes an otherworldly feeling in “Unreal Unearth” that can be found in his past albums. But this new chapter in Hozier’s discography delves even deeper—quite literally, as seen on the album’s cover art with the image of the artist being buried beneath dirt.

In an interview with Variety, Hozier said that he processed a lot of feelings about love while writing about his personal experiences for the album; especially the idea of how love and grief can be intertwined.

This mixture of feelings can especially be found in lyrics from “I, Carrion (Icarian),” a song that evokes the story of Icarus:

“Allow the ground to find its brutal way to me / If I should fall, on that day / I only pray, don’t fall away from me”

According to an article from Entertainment Weekly, the track “Son of Nyx’ further examines grief as it “is not only a reference to Nyx, the Greek goddess of night, and her son Charon, who ferries newly deceased souls across the rivers Styx and Acheron, but a tribute to the late father of Hozier's close friend and bass player, Alex Ryan.”

With the love and grief flitting through “Unreal Unearth,” there is an element of darkness as well which ultimately lightens in the album’s last track, “First Light” with lyrics such as the following:

“One bright morning goes so easy / Darkness always finds you either way / It creeps into the corners as the moment fades / A voice your body jumps to calling out your name / But after this I’m never gonna be the same / And I am never going back again”

As the Independent acknowledges, “The final song on the album is the final step in his odyssey, led by an Italian-style tarantella. ‘There’s reconciliation in the song,’ [Hozier] says. “It’s like seeing the sky for the first time.’  It mirrors the moment Virgil leads Dante out of hell.”

To experience this journey from darkness to light, listen to “Unreal Unearth,” now:


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