Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Hozier releases subliminal EP ‘Eat Your Young’ inspired by Dante’s ‘Inferno’

Hozier is undoubtably a poetic genius with almost every record taking the listener on a special journey and ‘Eat Your Young’ is certainly another victory the Irish talent can add to his roster.

Hozier teased a snippet of the lead single ‘Eat Your Young’ on TikTok a few weeks ago and ever since then it has been making the rounds and fans eager for the release date. Hozier only made fans pine further when he took to TikTok to explain the meaning behind the songs ‘Eat Your Young’ and ‘All Things End’ as two of the nine circles of hell from the classic Dante’s ‘Inferno’. W

ith the lead single representing the third circle, ‘gluttony’ and ‘All Things End’ as the sixth circle, ‘heresy’. Hozier also treated us to a third song ‘Through Me (The Flood)’ as a reflective track on loss.

Hozier references every type of gluttony throughout ‘Eat Your Young’ with the opening verse referring to the traditional form of gluttony being food, but Hozier manipulates his tone to subliminally reference sexual gluttony, “I’m starvin’, darlin’/Let me put my lips to something”. The pre-chorus focuses on the gluttony for money and wealth while still referring to the imagery of food in the double entendre “I wanna race you to the table”. The table full of food and the table full of money.

The chorus brings us to the selfishness of gluttony in “Pull up the ladder when the flood comes” speaking of the religious event in the Book of Genesis .Then comes the lyric that gives its name to the single, “Seven new ways that you can eat your young” a play on the term ‘eat the rich’ from the perspective of the elite with “eat your young” referring to their gluttony of power and wealth at the sacrifice of the poor and the climate crisis of future generations, as followed by the line “Puttin’ food on the table sellin’ bombs and guns” referring to the power of warfare.

The second verse introduces sexual gluttony more obviously in “Let me see the heat get to you/ Let me watch the dressing start to peel”. While also introducing the greed of the elite and their gluttony, “Crumbs enough for everyone/ Old and young”. The penultimate pre-chorus brings us to the naivety and ignorance of gluttony, “We can celebrate the good we’ve done”.

Hozier then welcomes in the second track of the EP, ‘All Things End’ with a great deal of religious imagery and religious disbelief with the aid of a heavenly gospel choir. Beginning with the lines “If there was anyone to ever get through this life/ With their heart still intact, they didn’t do it right”. Referring to the difficulty and cruelty of this life and how people look to God to deal with life, but the reality Hozier is asking is how is God still omnibenevolent after seeing this world? Introducing the sixth circle, heresy.

The chorus plays on the religious belief that the ten commandments was written in stone with Hoziers ‘heretic’ view “All that we intend is scrawled in sand” and God having the world in his hands but all that he intended “Slips right through our [God’s] hand”. The second verse falls into the need to blame God for what the world has become, “I know we want this to go easy by being somebody’s fault/ But we’ve gone long enough to know” that if there was a God it wouldn’t be this bad, the only fault is our own.

The pre-chorus, “When people say that something is forever/ Either way it ends” is alluding to the lines in the Lord Prayers “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.” This ‘kingdom’ has taken the ‘power’ and ‘glory’ from God and claimed it for itself, it wasn’t forever. The finishing line “When we begin again” is the final call for judgement day and retribution.

As an extra track, Hozier explained that ‘Through Me (The Flood)’ is something he wrote during lockdown. The record explores the story of a man battling a fight he isn’t destined to win, metaphorically the ‘man’ is a reference to the defeat of loss and the constant fight against it but it’s something that has already claimed us. “Picture a man…/ He feels a coming of a squall/ Will drag him out to a greater length/ But knows his strength, and tries to gather it”. The second verse describes the fight this man has with the current as “he swims on”. He reaches the shore and safety, “Turning back to shore again…/ And looking down to his new home” but death makes a substantial return, “He feels the rising of a wave and knows at once/ He will not weather it”.

The chorus is the acceptance of the will of the world and what is to come, “Every time I’d burn through the world, I’d see/ That the world, it burns through me.” The third verse is the truth of the story as the ‘picture’ changes for a man to “Picture a grave/ Picture six feet freshly dug”, the truth of death and loss. The fourth verse explores the feeling of isolation and loss further, “measure the silence of a house/ The unheard footsteps at the doorway/ The unemployment of the mouth.” Something that can be taken two ways, the loss of those sounds from the death of yourself and someone you love and perhaps the isolation and silence of the pandemic. ‘Through Me (The Flood)’ is a decorative and relatable ending to an EP that explores the bones of humankind.

Hozier offers the beautiful gift of storytelling in his albums, with every word having its own meaning and a metaphor that fans and people appreciative of stunning song writing enjoy deconstructing. ‘Eat Your Young’ is a compelling testament to what we will expect on Hozier’s third studio album ‘Unreal Unearth’ this year.


Georgia Eyles


Image: ‘Eat Your Young’ Official EP Cover



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