Three years after gracing us with 2019’s Wasteland, Baby!, Hozier is back and on his birthday nonetheless! Having been put on the international music map following the sensational “Take Me To Church” in 2013, the spellbinding artist has continued to enthuse styles that have influenced his musical journey ever since. Ranging from the classic sounds of blues to jazz, both of which have appeared to shape most of his structures and melodies, the Irish artist is steadily building up a strong body of work that his new single “Eat Your Young” definitely adds to.
Underpinned as a playful track, “Eat Your Young” explores darker subject matters, touching on destructive mindsets and the morality of sin and indulgence; at its core, functions as a well-executed commentary on the choices one may make to survive. Starting off strong with falsetto interludes before segueing into a jazz-styled rhythm with vocals drenched in reverb, the track discusses the vices of human nature, suggesting that listeners take accountability for their sinfulness as Hozier directly proclaims: “I won’t lie / If there’s something still to take / There is ground to break.”
Making no effort to shy away from such elements, the track is also an allusion to Dante’s third circle of Hell. With stacked harmonies over a bed of strings swirling around in the choruses, Hozier basks in the beauty of gluttonies hunger rather than its shame, showcasing his penchant for storytelling through ravenous lyrical connotations in the context of biblical imagery, consumerism, and war. “Skinning the children for a war drum,” he sings. “Putting food on the table selling bombs and guns, it’s quicker and easier to eat your young.”
Noting how the EP and upcoming album were meant to be concept projects, both were guided by Dante’s Inferno, the first part of Italian writer Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem “Divine Comedy” that describes a journey through hell guided by the ancient Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro, also known as Virgil. “There’s a subtle element and I wanted to be light and playful with it,” says Hozier in an interview with Rolling Stone UK. “The album can be taken as a collection of songs, but also as a little bit of a journey,” he continues. “It starts with a descent and I’ve arranged the songs according to their themes into nine circles, just playfully reflecting Dante’s nine circles and then an ascent at the end.”
Immediately hooking the listeners with his soothing vocals, “Eat Your Young” is exciting and thought-provoking. The track’s flawless instrumentation, with the smoothest, soul-stirring outro ever, delivers a vibrantly unified sound – think Tamle Impala meets Beach House – and demonstrates the Irishman’s ability to merge indie-pop and alt-rock ever so seamlessly. As he layers various moods through production, lyrical content, and the glorious tone of his voice, Hozier has somehow mastered crafting a single that exudes various sounds yet still feels cohesive and it’s the perfect song to add to your road trip playlists.