Hozier’s EP “Nina Cried Power” was released last week on 6 September 2018.
In an interview with Billboard, Hozier makes a stand for the soul and origin of blues – “There is no blues music without one of the most horrendous atrocities of human trafficking in the last few centuries.” Hozier Interview Billboard
The title track indeed evokes rebirth in the face of disaster and oppression. Mavis Staples’ vocals on the track bring force to the record’s sentiment. The opening lyrics “it’s not the waking, it’s the rising” establish the tone for Hozier’s new era as one of both delicacy and defiance. The Bray singer tweeted that working with Staples on the track was “nothing short of a dream come true” (Twitter).
The EP pays homage not only to the strength of grassroots civil rights movements, but also to tenderness and power within love. “NFWMB” is vulnerable but also powerful and a little sinister. Its celestial, acoustic, fingerpicked guitar melody is underpinned by the piano’s dulcet’s chords.
“If I was born as a blackthorn three
I’d wanna be felled by you, held by you”
“Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” continues this duality of a love-song and political statement. The lyrics dwell on the pleasures of physical love but also defiance against the Catholic church. Musically, it is almost an upbeat sister song to first album’s “To Be Alone”.
“Shrike”‘s confession, “I couldn’t utter my love when it counted”, is also politically charged. The imagery of the bird and the thorn is one of flight and return, and of the necessity of the unsightly. It is a song of both attachment and ambition, and of the desire for rebirth.
Hozier writes in the description of his new music video that, “Ireland has undergone a socio-cultural sea change, the results of which will benefit generations to come”. The video, released on 12 September 2018 is a subtle nod of admiration to Irish artists and activists. For information on those involved in the video can be found here: Music Video Cast
This EP is one of regeneration – for Hozier, for Ireland, for blues.