Irish singer-songwriter Hozier is back after four years of silence with a strong new EP titled “Nina Cried Power.”
Filled with tributes to his musical inspirations as well as to current and lost loves, Hozier’s album sweeps listeners off their feet with four new songs, each with a different style and sound he masters.
The titular song, “Nina Cried Power,” is a soulful collaboration between Hozier and powerhouse singer and activist Mavis Staples.
Referencing music greats such as Nina Simone, James Brown, Joni Mitchell and Curtis Mayfield, Hozier and Staples pay tribute to artists who are not afraid to protest through their work.
“NFWMB,” which stands for “nothing fucks with my baby” is arguably my favorite.
It begins with a deep guitar riff similar to the one in “It Will Come Back,” a song off of Hozier’s self-titled album, and relies heavily on the singer’s talent to romanticize death and darkness all while shaping a beautiful ode to a lover.
Described as “a love song for the end of the world” by Hozier at a Sept. 9 performance, the song is a shadowy, passion-filled favorite.
“Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” draws on similar religious allusions as his hit “Take Me To Church,” but for me, while the lyrics are powerful and relevant, the song as a whole falls just a tiny bit flat.
His vocals are powerful and assertive, but the riffs seem a little too familiar and the song draws on the same choral vibes as “Nina Cried Power,” as well as older songs such as “Take Me To Church” and “Jackie and Wilson.”
Closing out the EP is “Shrike,” a gentle ode to a past lover. Hozier’s guitar skills have been proven over and over again in his past songs like “Cherry Wine” and “Like Real People Do,” but hearing the first few sweet and melodic riffs of this song was a breath of fresh air.
Considering his tender and poetic lyrics about returning to a love after taking it for granted, this song has made me cry more times than I’d like to admit.
If this album does anything for Hozier fans who’ve been waiting anxiously for more music, it reminds them of the lyrical god he is.
Each song displays Hozier’s talent as an artist in different manners — be it his soulful belting, deep acoustic timbre, mastery of dark topics or gentle, loving melodies — but again and again, I’m brought back to the strength and depth he brings to his lyrics.
While the styles of these songs aren’t new to Hozier, they are unique in sound, and triumphant in songwriting.