Album Review; Hozier- ‘Nina Cried Power’
Written by Jessie Roos on October 9, 2018
Title: Nina Cried Power – EP
Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: September 6, 2018
(Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
Hozier has been on hiatus for over a year and decided to pop up without warning and drop off a little present to his fans. This bite sized EP highlights four very different songs to build up anticipation for his full album being released in 2019. Overall, I really enjoyed the variety he showed. He didn’t step out of his normal niche but I think that’s what makes him so identifiable as an artist. You never have to second guess if it’s Hozier. From rhythmic, to jazz to slow he does it all with his own special twist.
Nina Cried Power (ft. Mavis Staples)
This song quickly catches your attention with the rolling drum beat. As Hozier’s vocals gets stronger, a gospel choir chimes in, backing him up and adding to the intensity of the song. It’s been a while since we’ve heard new music from Hozier and his gritty identifiable voice is more powerful than ever. Mavis Staples comes in when the song drops off and in only accompanied by claps and the gospel choir. Her voice is clearly a little more mature and sounds bluesier but different yet still very complimentary of the song. I felt like this song was constantly in motion due to the drums, addition of claps, and layered vocals throughout the song. I would compare this song to a train steadily moving forward.
The fingerpicking is this song is extremely familiar and reminded me of the rift in “It Will Come Back”. This song is very slow and relaxing. Right after “Nina Cried Power” this song kinda seemed like a downer but on it’s own for the right setting this could be a really vibey song. I believe this is the first time Hozier swears in his song and at first I didn’t realized “NFWMB” stands for “Nobody Fucks With My Baby.” He swears so quietly it almost fades away in his low voice. If the last song was a like a train in motion this song is more like a slow waltz or a sleepy stroll along the side streets of a gritty city.
Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)
This is a foot tapping song, it’s very jazzy compared to the other ones. If I could snap my fingers I’d snap along. There are some really bluesy guitar riffs that sound amazing on electric guitar. I feel like I could dance to this in modern jazz style, if I could dance. Vocally I don’t think this showed a crazy amount of range but instrumentally it is definitely the catchiest out of all of them. Ultimately this reminds of something that would play at some obscure dive bar in Ireland where people really appreciate music with rock and jazz roots.
This is a very pretty acoustic song. It features mostly fingerpicking with notes higher up on the fret to get the listeners out of his deep, bass heavy acoustics. It sounds very irish and reminds me of “In a Week” and “Cherry Wine.” If you’re looking to hear the softer side of Hozier’s vocal listen to this track. His falsetto is beautiful here and he exhibits a lot of vocal control by keeping his voice wispy during his lower notes. I really enjoyed the incorporation of simple piano chords to add some layers and a backing harmony throughout as well as the shakers to add some rhythm. The song grows slowly but it remains very peaceful. This is a beautiful song and reminds me of something you’d want playing in the background of all your romantic moments.