From the first second, Hozier’s EP Nina Cried Power is a whirlwind of emotion, energy, and the sound we’ve all come to know and love. It’s been a long wait since he released his eponymous debut album in 2014 but has proven to be worth the while. Many fans were disappointed to learn that Nina Cried Power would be an EP rather than a full-length album; however, this is an instance where quality more than compensates for quantity.
All four tracks are reminiscent of previous Hozier tunes, but he has managed to find the sweet spot between experimentation and maintaining his well-established sound. “Shrike,” for instance, is a more refined cousin of “Like Real People Do.” The music contains traces of blues, roots rock, and folk, and of course, generous doses of gospel and soul. Out of the songs, the one that stands out most is surely the title track.
“It’s not the waking, it’s the rising,” begins the ballad, setting the stage for a powerful “song about protest songs” featuring musicians Mavis Staples and Booker T. Jones. Hozier pays homage to Nina Simone and her song “Sinnerman,” incorporating some of her lyrics and her name into the chorus. He also references other revolutionary musicians, such as John Lennon, James Brown, and Woody Guthrie. Hozier does not overstep and make the mistake of centering the song around himself. Instead, he acknowledges the strides made by the activists he names. This is especially evident in the moving lyrics, “Power has been cried by those stronger than me / Straight into the face that tells you to rattle your chains / If you love being free.”
According to an interview with Rolling Stone, Hozier is set to release his second full album in early 2019. Until then, Nina Cried Power will be more than enough to get you your Hozier fix.
Recommended If You Like: Matt Corby, Mumford & Sons, James Bay
Recommended Tracks: 1 (Nina Cried Power), 3 (Moment’s Silence [Common Tongue]), 4 (Shrike)
Do Not Play: 2 (NFWMB)
Written by Jaya Chakka on 09/09/2018