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The Indiana Daily Student

arts music review

COLUMN: Hozier’s ‘Eat Your Young’ EP is a masterful allusion to Dante’s ‘Inferno’

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Singer-songwriter Hozier explores the morality of sin and indulgence through poetic storytelling on “Eat Your Young.” Released on March 17, the illustrious EP alludes to classic literature through a brilliant blend of pop, folk and soul.  

At its core, “Eat Your Young” functions as a well-executed commentary on human morality and the choices people make to survive. As songs like the titular “Eat Your Young” and “All Things End” discuss the vices of human nature, Hozier suggests that listeners take accountability for their sinfulness. Such a grandiose proposal is typical for the booming baritone, whose work often draws from mythology and religion. “Eat Your Young” makes no effort to shy away from such elements.  

The EP precedes an upcoming album, in which many of the songs will explore themes of sin, self-knowledge and greed as Hozier alludes to Dante’s “Inferno,” the first part of writer Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem “Divine Comedy.” The searing poem takes readers on a journey through Dante’s nine circles of Hell as he searches for his dead love. 

Hozier revealed in a TikTok from March 10 that the EP contains three unreleased songs, two of which are a “taste of two of the nine circles.” In the video, Hozier said “Eat Your Young” alludes to the third circle of Hell and “All Things End” alludes to the sixth circle of Hell. Although no release date exists for the upcoming album, Hozier promised fans on Twitter that a new album will arrive later this year. 

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As an allusion to Dante’s third circle of Hell, the titular “Eat Your Young” examines gluttony — one of the seven deadly sins. With stacked harmonies and a bed of strings that swirl around in the chorus, Hozier basks in the beauty of hunger. Rather than shame gluttonous fools, Hozier becomes one.  

Above all, “Eat Your Young” showcases Hozier’s penchant for storytelling while he examines gluttony in the context of consumerism and war, as he sings, “Skinnin' the children for a war drum / Puttin' food on the table sellin' bombs and guns / It's quicker and easier to eat your young.”  

The song’s long instrumental outro is soul-stirring. The soft hum of an organ and chilling brush of piano keys consume listeners in what feels like a never-ending loop — giving them a taste of what’s to come.  

“All Things End” alludes to Dante’s sixth circle of Hell and examines heresy. Despite the song’s doomful title, the lyrics are rather reassuring. As Hozier sings, “And just knowing / That everything will end / Should not change our plans / When wе begin again,” he assures listeners that life is meant to be lived. Knowing that all things will end should not stop us from experiencing love at the expense of pain.  

The song’s enchanting gospel-style chant befits its reassuring message beautifully. At the heart of the song, a light and airy piano melody ascends listeners to the highest of heavens — giving them a new sense of enthusiasm for life.  

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Hozier moves away from literary allusions on the EP’s final track, where he reflects upon loss and death. “Through Me (The Flood)” is spectacularly haunting, as it opens with the eerie hum of an organ and distant wails. Hozier told People that he worked on this EP throughout the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this song works to make sense of the loss he witnessed during that time.  

Unlike the previous two tracks, “Through Me (The Flood)” features a steady drum beat and stupefying electric guitar melody. These heavier musical elements pave the way for Hozier to commend the strength he saw in humanity as the pandemic ravaged communities.  

As he sings, “He feels a coming of a squall / Will drag him out a greater length / But knows his strength, and tries to gather it,” Hozier touches on the ways in which humans persevere, even after they know their attempts to avoid fate will be futile and meaningless. With such careful storytelling, “Through Me (The Flood)” is a magnificent ode to endurance.  

With decadent production, daring allusions to literature and boundless storytelling, “Eat Your Young” marks the folksy Irishman’s glorious return to music. Through bursts of eclectic poetry and ethereal harmonies, Hozier proves once again that lyrics are just as important to the cohesivity of an artist as the music.

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