On September 6, 2018, Hozier returned from his hiatus to bless the world with "Nina Cried Power", and it might be his best song yet.
As one of four tracks on the Nina Cried Power EP, the title track is easily the most important track the musical activist has ever released. In an interview with Billboard, Hozier describes the song as, "a thank you note to the spirit of protest," and it definitely is a beautiful celebration of protest, especially political protest through music.
With lyrics like, "And I could cry power, power, power/Nina cried power/Billie cried power/Mavis cried power," he explicitly mentions Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, and (guest vocalist) Mavis Staples - artists who used their music for civil rights activism. Later lyrics mention John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, James Brown, and Bob Dylan, other artists who used their music to fight for a cause. The line (and title) "Nina cried power," and even the way he sings "I could cry power" are used to pay homage to the iconic Nina Simone song "Sinnerman".
On its own, the song is incredibly powerful, but the official music video actually adds to that!
Not only does the song pay tribute to "the spirit of protest,' but the video does as well by featuring multiple Irish activists listening to the song for the first time. While the song seems to mostly reference civil rights activists, the ones featured in the video fight for multiple different causes - everything from civil rights to reproductive rights to LGBT rights.
In the description of the video, Hozier explains, "This song was intended as a thank you note to the spirit and legacy of protest; to the artists who imbued their work with the vigour of dissent, and a reflection on the importance of that tradition in the context of the rights, and lives, we enjoy today. My hope for this video is much the same." He then goes on to thank each activist featured in the video for the work they've done for human rights, and provides a link to a page on his official site that repeats his description of the video and provides more detailed information about each person featured in the video, drawing more attention to each fighter and their cause.
As an activist himself who has spent time-fighting for social issues in Ireland and has used his music to speak out against homophobia and domestic violence, it's fitting that Hozier's return to music would be focused on fighting oppression and cruelty. Considering the mess that the world is right now (especially thanks to current political leaders and the hatred they have inspired to come out of hiding), we definitely needed the push of inspiration and encouragement that comes from this masterpiece.