Music Review: Hozier "Wasteland, Baby"

Music Review: Hozier "Wasteland, Baby"

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Hozier has been my favorite artist for years. He has a way with words, to say the least. His voice is so beautiful. My ears are very happy when I listen to his music. This album is truly amazing and quite different than his first self titled album. But I am here for it! Some of these songs are political, others are subtly about sex, and others are relaxing. There is a bit of everything on this album.

1. ​Nina Cried Power ft. Mavis Staples​

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Nina Cried Power ft. Mavis Staples

Starting this album off is a song making a political statement. The opening line, "It's not the waking, it's the rising" is a powerful way to start off the song. This line calls on us as people to stand up for what we believe in. It's not enough to just simply be aware of it but to take action and rise up. This is the only way how a change will happen. Throughout the song, he references many social activists who fought for the rights of minorities such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, John Lennon, James Brown, and B.B King, among many more. Mavis Staples is featured on this track. She is a singer and activist who was a voice in the civil rights movement. She is also mentioned in the song as one who cried power. Overall, a very strong and meaningful song.

2. Almost (Sweet Music)

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Almost (Sweet Music)

What a sweet song. I love how he references jazz and blues songs, lyrics, and artists throughout the song. It's almost like a little treasure hunt trying to find all of the references. This song has a fun beat and honestly brings me a lot of joy. However, I think this song is kind of sad, despite the happy upbeat sound. The line, "I'm almost me again, she's almost you" makes me think it's about two people who are no longer together but are now with other people, and they would listen to these kinds of songs together. But then again, maybe this a reference to a jazz song I am unaware of. It is up to your interpretation.

3. Movement

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSye8OO5TkM

Movement

This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. It has such a beautiful sound. The beginning makes me think of being underwater or watching those videos of ocean waves in slow motion. But this song quickly picks up and has a different tone to it that I can't quite put my finger on. If you listen to the lyrics, it is definitely appreciating dancing and the movement involved, and maybe a little bit about sex. When he says, "Move me, baby, Shake like the bough of a willow tree, You do it naturally, Move me baby" he could be talking about sex or being moved in an emotional way. In addition, there is an instrumental part of the song that just gives me the chills. It's amazing. I highly recommend watching the music video because Sergei Polunin is the main character and dances throughout. It is simply beautiful. I'm also very much contemplating choreographing this song.

4. No Plan

No Plan

This is a pretty fun song. I don't know what instrument it's called, it may just be an electric guitar, but it adds like a 70s vibe to the song. I really like the beat and the instruments. This sounds like a great song to just sit back and relax with. The lyrics are very interesting though. From what I'm interpreting it seems like he's saying that there isn't a plan to all of this, to existence, that we are just here. We should not define our lives if we want to live it freely, because then we are caging ourselves in. While I don't necessarily agree that there is "no plan" for our lives, I feel like the lyrics and tone fit in with the theme of this album, a kind of apocalyptic world. However, I do agree with him when he says, "Sit in and watch the sunlight fade, Honey, enjoy, it's gettin' late". I think what he's trying to say here is that in this chaotic world, you should sit down and enjoy the little things, like watching the sunset. We shouldn't stress over controlling our lives, but rather just enjoy it.

5. Nobody

Nobody

This track is definitely a love song. It has a happy, upbeat tempo which I think parallels well with the lyrics. The singer talks about all of these experiences he has around the world that obviously bring him a lot of joy. But despite all of those experiences he has never been loved by somebody the way this person has loved them. I think that's a beautiful thing. Love is a beautiful thing, so it's great when you can find someone that really loves you. Overall, this is a fun song that I wouldn't mind just laying back and relaxing to.

6. To Noise Making (Sing)

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To Noise Making (Sing)

This track has a simple sound to it with beautiful background vocals. The lyrics are also fairly simple since most of the song is him just singing "sing". To be honest, I'm not really sure what this song is about. At a surface level, it seems to be just about how singing brings this person joy. However, some of the lyrics make me think that this could be more about sexual experience. But you know, I really don't know. This song is okay, but probably my least favorite on the album.

7. As It Was

As It Was

This is a much slower and darker song. I appreciate how it is mostly just his guitar and his voice, with some other string instruments and a piano sprinkled in there. It adds a certain depth to the song. This song is about a person returning to his significant other/lover. Again, he's referencing a great love. This is a really great song.

8. Shrike

Shrike

Another slow and softer song. The instrumentals are simple and calming. I get a very indie vibe from this song. I didn't know this but a shrike is actually a bird and it will kill its prey with its beak and then skewer the prey onto a thorn. I know, it's pretty graphic. I am a bit confused about the meaning of the song though. At first, it seems like this person was hurt a lot by a past lover, especially when he says, "Dragging along, follow in your form, Hung like the pelt of some prey you had worn". It sounds like a toxic relationship. But then at the end of the chorus, he always says, "Remember me, love, when I'm reborn, As the shrike to your glorious thorn". And when you think back to what the shrike bird does, it relies on a thorn to kill its prey. So maybe he's also relying on this person, and maybe it is a toxic relationship because of that dependence.

9. Talk

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Talk

This track is another one of my favorites. I really just love the sound of it, especially the beginning. The guitar has a bubbly sort of feel to it. As for the lyrics, they are definitely seductive. I was watching an interview of Hozier talking about this song and he said that the person speaking is trying to talk about all of these tales about love and speaking eloquently trying to impress the other person. And in the chorus, it even says, "I won't deny I've got on my mind now, All the things I would do, So I try to talk refined for fear that you find out, How I'm imaginin' you". So he's literally saying like he's saying all of these things because he doesn't want the other person to know just how attracted he is to them. What a song.

10. Be

Be

This track picks up the beat a lot more, but it's not necessarily happy. I would even say that part of it is a commentary on some political situations. For example, at the end of the first chorus, he says, "which side of the wall really suffers the cost?" and then in the next verse he says, "When the man who gives the order, Is born next time 'round on the boat sent back, When the bodies starvin' at the border, Are on TV giving people the sack" he is most definitely referring to Trump and his wall. As a whole, I think the artist is asking his partner to still love him well and to be the way that they are, despite the world being chaotic around them.

11. Dinner & Diatribes

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Dinner & Diabtribes

This is a really fun song. I didn't know what a diatribe was though, so I had to look that up. A diatribe is basically a rant criticizing someone or something. So this track is kind of telling a story. Basically, the main person in this song is having dinner with his significant other and her friends, but the friends are making diatribes so it's making the situation not fun. Furthermore, the main character in this story was supposed to have an intimate night with his significant other, but instead, he has to deal with her annoying friends, so she's teasing him and promising sex later on. And so the song continues to talk about the kind of love they are going to have later on. It's a pretty sexual song in a very subtle and tasteful way.

12. Would That I

Would That I

This track is another one of my favorites. It starts off with an indie vibe and then picks up and gets louder for the chorus. It gets quieter again for the second verse, but not as quiet as the first, and gets loud again for the chorus. This song has a mix of sadness and happiness to it. In the beginning, he is talking about losing a love, which is why it is kind of somber. But as it goes to the chorus, we see that he is now focusing on the present love that he has. To me, this is a song that I would blast on my radio with my windows down in the summertime. It just feels like a good time.

13. Sunlight

Sunlight

I really like the background guitar when the song starts. It reminds me of sunshine just beaming down on your skin, which is very fitting for this song. He is in love with this person and he sees them as sunlight, something bright and beautiful. However, he claims that he would do anything, even if his own life is at stake, for a chance to be close to this person. I think this is a very beautiful song and definitely wouldn't mind just basking in the sun listening to this.

14. Wasteland, Baby!

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Wasteland, Baby!

This is a simple song. It is beautiful and dark. This song is just Hozier and his guitar, with a bit of piano sprinkled in there. However, I don't know if I like the sound effect on his voice. It's like a weird autotune that is very slightly echoing. But the lyrics are very interesting. It sounds like he is falling in love and comparing that sensation to the end of the world. I mean falling in love is pretty scary. But he talks about a lot of positive aspects of it, not just all negative.

Overall, I think this is a really great album with some very strong songs. There were some songs from his Nina Cried Power EP that I wish made it to this album, but all of the songs are beautiful nonetheless. I love Hozier so much because he adds so many layers to his songs and they are open to interpretation. Maybe you interpreted some of these songs differently than I did, and I think that's a great thing. I am so excited to hear his beautiful voice in just about a week. I can't wait to hear some of these songs live. It's going to be awesome!

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.
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We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?


Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.


"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*


Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.


Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*


Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.


Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?


First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.


Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?


Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?


It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.


Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.

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Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.

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