Hozier broadens horizons in new single with Meduza

Photo courtesy of Kayla Johnson, Flickr.

Over a year after the release of his cover of “The Parting Glass,” Hozier has returned with a new single in a new style. “Tell It To My Heart” was produced in collaboration with the Italian DJ trio Meduza. The group emerged in 2014 and consists of Luca de Gregorio, Simone Giani and Mattia Vitale.

Over the years, Hozier’s discography has ranged from rock to indie to even country, with him crediting the work of Black artists such as Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield as the source of his inspiration. Collaborating with Meduza has caused his range to expand even further into electronic dance music.

“Tell It To My Heart” is a song with a rapid pulse. At 124 beats per minute (BPM), the tempo compliments the desperation in the vocals. Hozier sings to a lover whom he no longer understands, asking them to be honest with him about whether their relationship is truly over. These partners are no longer content together, and a lack of communication fuels further conflict.

The lyrics vary between an accusation of disloyalty and a plea for reassurance. The singer describes the growing distance between himself and his partner, half-observing and half-demanding: “'Cause I can't keep guessing if it's me you're missing?”

The singer’s hurt hinges on how his partner refuses to be clear about what is going on. He wants to know the truth, even if it is painful, “‘Cause the sound of silence is a place we’re dying.”

On Oct. 29, Meduza’s YouTube channel dropped a lyric video that compliments the frantic tone of the lyrics with mesmerizing visuals that are certain to unsettle viewers. The camera sweeps through an otherworldly setting that is equal parts dilapidated and fantastical. Concrete walls are set at strange angles and covered in writhing black wires.

The abandoned technology connects to a robotic torso and head that continuously shift in appearance from a metal skeletal frame to something almost human. The robotic heart at the center of the bizarre structure flashes and pulsates in time with the beat, emphasizing the singer’s anxiety about the relationship coming to an end. The video concludes with the room darkening, as if the machine has been unplugged and can finally rest. 

It is a comparatively simple, repetitive animation but every detail, from the bright golden background to the dark haunting eye sockets of the robot, serves to entrance viewers. The replay value is high when it is so easy to forget about the lyrics trailing along the bottom of the screen.

Whether Hozier and Meduza will release more music together in the future is uncertain, but fans are clearly supportive of their collaboration. “Tell It To My Heart” has already racked up over two million streams on Spotify and shows no sign of slowing down. Hozier’s soulful vocals pair well with Meduza’s thrumming electronic instrumentals, inviting listeners to dance, cry and bond over past heartaches.

The single serves as an encouragement for artists to explore new genres. Stepping outside of a comfort zone may seem risky but it can sometimes lead to something beautiful.