Album of the Year

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Album of the Year

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Love Songs for the End of the World 

 

With the most highly anticipated albums this year being When We All Fall Asleep Where Do we Go by Billie Eilish and Igor by Tyler the Creator, 2019 has been dominated by the sound of concept albums. While both albums, specifically Igor, are extremely well-produced and thought out- Igor being Tylers follow up to 2017 hit Flowerboy, the new sound is very hit or miss for older fans. Both albums were praised by critics and rightfully so, but the album of the year is one that was not highly publicized. 

Hozier, the Irish singer-songwriter who skyrocketed to stardom in 2013 with his hit single “Take Me to Church” has released his first album since his debut 5 years ago. After a year in the making, his new album “Wasteland Baby” is an overall ode to timeless jazz musicians Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by light, earthy instrumentals. The themes on the album vary but the overarching theme is recognizing the many influential jazz and soul musicians who preceded him. Andrew Hozier dedicated a year to residing in his homeland of Ireland to write the album as a solo project. He later collaborated with Markus Dravs- friend and British Record Producer to bring his work to life. 

While the subject matter of the songs has changed from his debut, Hoziers voice remains just as passionate and rich with meaning. He describes the album as a collection of “love songs for the end of the world”. The theme of the 14 songs ranges widely from love to mortality, from climate change to adoration of the people around him, all the while wrapped in airy folky sing-song instrumentals with contrasting ballad-like vocals. Hozier seems an unlikely fit for guitar-driven music as his voice is so heavy but his voice is able to bring the acoustics to life in a Clapton like manner.  Not unlike his first album, Hozier utilizes the bass guitar alongside the prominent acoustic guitar riffs. 

The lyrical content of the album is heavy but is softened by the instrumental and vocals. Dancing to a song about climate change has never been so easy or so satisfying. For the subject matter of the album alone, Hozier released one of the most versatile albums this year meaning there is a song for nearly everyone. With the flowing instrumentals, rich vocals and thoughtful, well-written lyrics, Hozier created not only a great album for 2019 but a great album in general. 

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