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Moving Debut from Hozier: Self Titled Album Review

This summer, I believe I spent one full day watching videos of “So You Think You Can Dance”’s Jessica and Casey dancing to “Like Real People Do” by Hozier. I had become a bit obsessed with the show, and this routine struck me as perhaps the most elegant, romantic pairing of song and dance I had ever seen. The beautiful choreography alone is enough to make you swoon, but the addition of Hozier’s “Like Real People Do” evokes intensely delightful heartache. The well-crafted tune’s lofty chorus and definitive 3/4 time will make you want to waltz all night. At minimum, the sugar-sweet lyrics and honeyed melody always keep me smiling all day.

The pure romance of “Like Real People Do” is only a taste of the rich emotions present throughout Hozier, the artist’s brand new self-titled album. The hit of the summer, “Take Me To Church” opens the album with a smack of anger, grit, and soul. The distinct track is one of the singer’s most passionate, featuring a scathing outcry against the church. The bite of the lyrics is enhanced by the different musical tones throughout the song. Beginning with a declarative but romantic and grounded echo of church music, the song then progresses into the soaring, fervent, and aggressive chorus. The powerful music video for the song certainly hits the message home, and may coax some tears out of you along the way.

Hozier’s emotional journey is rounded out with two other stand-out tracks. Following “Take Me To Church”, “Angel Of Death & The Codeine Scene” showcases Hozier’s soul side. Packed with plucky blues, the track reveals the singer’s roots. Hozier grew up with a blues musician for a father, and credits John Lee Hooker as one of his greatest inspirations. The brand new “Someone New”, for one, is also full of fun and funk. I can’t help but dance when I hear the upbeat chorus, and smile at the lyric: “And so I fall in love just a little oh a little bit, every day with someone new”. What a wonderful thought!

After releasing several awesome and unique singles over the past couple years, Hozier has done great with his debut album. The album is diverse and impressive, not to mention impassioned, fun, romantic, and moving. In an interview with fuse at Lollapalooza, Hozier talks about the process of combining old stuff with new, trying (and failing) to come up with an album name, and the beautiful and vibrant album cover, which his mom designed.

Thank god Hozier is so generous with his touring dates. He’ll be traveling around New England and the rest of the U.S. twice this year! Unfortunately, there’s no Providence date on the schedule, but he will be in Boston on both October 31st and March 4th. A natural musician, the singer is absolutely wonderful live. You can see for yourself on his website, under videos. These shorts also feature insightful commentary (along with his sweet accent!) on each track of the album. I beg you, go see Hozier live. I have no doubt you will have a night to remember. And you may see me there! What could be better?

BONUS: Stella caught up with Hozier at Newport Folk Fest this summer. Catch her exclusive interview with the artist below!

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