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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Unreal Unearth easily proves that Hozier is a lyrical and musical genius

The album cover for Hozier’s Unreal Unearth, which was an absolute masterpiece.

“If [the song] moves you when you’re writing it, you’ll probably move someone else.”

This was a quote said by none other than Andrew Hozier-Byrne, more commonly known as Hozier, while on an episode of the Zach Sang Show podcast. He was a guest star on the show in June, promoting his newest album, Unreal Unearth, which was released on Aug. 18. 

As a lyrical genius, Hozier was definitely keeping that saying in mind while producing this masterpiece.

Since his very first album, Hozier has had an eloquent way of writing music. The lyrics have so many layers to them that can be peeled apart like an onion. From “Work Song” in his first album to “Would That I” in his second, the lines would strike me in the heart with such force that I didn’t even know how to react other than to say the word “wow.”

He carries on this power he has with words to Unreal Unearth and adds another level of depth that I have not seen in any of his prior pieces of work. In this album, Hozier takes inspiration from the poem “Dante’s Inferno,” by Dante Alighieri, which describes Dante’s journey through the nine circles of Hell. This album, for Hozier, was a journey through the past three years, which, at times, could be quite treacherous. 

While not wanting to write a “COVID-19 album” and making direct references to the pandemic, “Dante’s Inferno” is skillfully utilized as an intricate symbol for real-life experiences that occurred during that time period.

The album opens with the songs “De Selby (Part 1)” and “De Selby (Part 2),” which seamlessly transition into one another, even though the two tracks are incredibly different. The first part is strictly an acoustic guitar and showcases the delicate side of Hozier’s voice. The musicality has many undertones of fantasy, and the second half of the track being sung in Gaelic—an Irish language—truly adds to the magical feeling of it. 

This song, like every other track on the album, is perfection down to every last bit of production.

The second part depicts a whole other side to Hozier’s music, one that hasn’t been showcased as often as the first. There is more of a pop/rock vibe to this song, and the contrast to the first song is incredible. That, paired with his incredible vocals, makes the first two songs in the album perfection.

A fan favorite in Unreal Unearth is the fourth track of the album, “Francesca.” When looking at “Dante’s Inferno,” this song is referring to the second circle of Hell, lust. Francesca is actually an allusion within the poem about a woman who was arranged to marry a man while being in love with his brother, and her husband eventually murdered them both. In this circle, the souls of lust are blown in the winds of an endless storm. 

When speaking about the song “Francesca,” she gets drawn out of the storm, which is where her forbidden lover still resided. According to Hozier, this song is about someone he had a past relationship with, and how even though the relationship came to an end, he would do it over again. Throughout the song, this is shown by Francesca wanting to be put back in the storm, and lyrics such as, “I’d tell them, ‘Put me back in it’ / darling, I would do it again / if I could hold you for a minute / darling I’d go through it again.” It is lines such as these and the meaning behind the words that forever leave me fascinated by Hozier.

Another one of the songs on the album that I absolutely adore is the fifth track, “I, Carrion (Icarain).” The acoustic guitar and strings paired with his voice create a lullaby-like sound that is absolutely beautiful. By singing the lyrics, “I’ve reached a rarer height now that I can confirm / all our weight is just a burden offered to us by the world,” Hozier is referring to the feelings of having the wings of Icarus, a Greek mythological character with wings made of feathers and wax, along with the emotions of a new relationship. The two feelings are both so all-consuming to him, and Hozier is willing to risk everything to make their love worth it, which is seen in the line, “We’ll float away, but if we fall I only pray, don’t fall away from me.” This track depicts a love so strong that it fills me up with a sense of overwhelming adoration and pure happiness.

My absolute favorite song in this entire album is, without a doubt, “Unknown / Nth,” the 15th track. If I am giving a short explanation of what this track is about—which we all know will not be the case—Hozier is singing a “minimalistic” breakup song, or at least that is how he describes it on the podcast episode. When delving deeper into “Unknown / Nth,” it is uncovered that this song has references to the ninth circle of Hell, treachery. After being let down by someone that he fully trusted, Hozier could still see remnants of his heart stuck in their teeth. In the ninth circle, the angel Beelzebub is stuck in ice up to his waist, and he flaps his wings to try and escape, but it only makes the ice colder and build up higher, displaying him as a trophy of treachery. 

This ties together with “Unknown / Nth” because of the love that Hozier still has for the person he is referring to in this song, comparing them to the angel. The lyrics, “Do you know, I could break beneath the weight / of the goodness, love, I still carry for you,” depict the treachery that Hozier experienced, especially since the person the song is about is “stuck” in the ice and cannot escape, therefore Hozier has to live knowing that he will never get back what he once held so tightly to his chest. This song, like every other track on the album, is perfection down to every last bit of production. I scream this song at the top of my lungs so loud that my voice is hoarse afterward. It is truly one of the best songs I have ever heard by Hozier.

Hozier is not like any other singer I have listened to. The imagery, allusions, and vocals that he incorporates into every song of his is beyond quintessential. It is clear that he handles every song tenderly and gingerly, ensuring that his audience of listeners is satisfied with what they hear.

And let me just say, I most definitely am.

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About the Contributor
Sofia Hargis-Acevedo
Sofia Hargis-Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief
Sofia is a senior entering her fourth and final year writing for The Central Trend. She has grown up a writer and cannot picture herself as anything but. Along with writing, she keeps herself busy by dancing. She has been leaping across the stage since the ripe age of two, and she is currently on the FHCVDT. For Sofia, endings are bittersweet. And as she approaches her final moments walking the halls of FHC, she will try her hardest to leave her legacy within the words she writes—the words that contain her heart. Her favorite book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Her go-to dessert: a piping hot brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream Her favorite season: Fall, without a doubt fall Has she gotten over her fear of birds after three years? Nope!

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