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The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

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An Analysis Of Unreal Unearth



Above is the artist, Andrew Hozier Byrne. Unreal Unearth is his third album.

Hozier’s third album Unreal Unearth was released on August 18, 2023. The album features the singles “Eat Your Young” and “All Things End”. Later, three additional tracks were released as singles: “De Selby 2”, “Francesca”, and “Unknown/nth”. The album draws inspiration from Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri, a poem that follows Dante and his guide Virgil as they navigate through (and out of) the nine circles of hell.


“De Selby (Part 1)” and “De Selby (Part 2)”: Both of these tracks are named after De Selby, a fictional philosopher from the novel “The Third Policeman”. He believed that if you couldn’t tell where an object ended and darkness began, then they were one in the same, evoking a feeling of freedom. The blending of light and dark during Dante’s descent into hell continues until there’s no light left, directly correlating to De Selby’s philosophy.


“First Time”: This track focuses on the cycle of life and death, capturing the feeling of being lifted by an experience that ultimately ends with the feeling that everything around you is falling apart. It demonstrates this cycle that eventually repeats itself.


“Francesca”: This track is from the perspective of Francesca da Rimini. She was married off to Giovani Malatesta but fell in love with his brother Paolo. When Giovanni finds out, he murders them both, sending the pair to hell. Francesca is undeterred by their sentence and refuses to apologize, claiming that she would do it all over again. She purposefully forfeits any chance of ascending beyond hell, preferring to stay with Paolo. To her, suffering for eternity with the one she loves isn’t suffering at all.

“I, Carrion (Icarian)”: This track focuses on the tale of Icarus. His father makes him some wax wings and sends him off flying. However, with growing courage, as Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted and he fell to his ultimate demise. The song attempts to convey how Icarus felt weightless, experiencing so much joy that he didn’t even realize he was falling. Even in death, Icarus remained in denial. The track explores the feeling of being in love and feeling light and weightless, yet finding it completely terrifying. Knowing you could painfully plummet and being okay with that because it meant you experienced the feeling.


“Eat Your Young”: This track focuses on the idea of eating children as a solution to poverty. The narrator explains that if you’re going to sell weapons of mass destruction just to put some food on the table that’ll eventually kill the children, then may as well just eat them.


“Damage Gets Done” ft Brandi Carlile: This track focuses on the differences between being young and being reckless and how they can merge together. It mentions the long term negative effects of being young and feeling powerless.


“Who We Are”: This track focuses on the idea of starting off in darkness and having to push your way through it, a situation where you have to sit and accept the terrible parts of life and how things are never fully terrible or fully good.


“Son of Nyx”: This track focuses on the start of Dante’s journey towards the light and out of hell. It’s about the Greek Goddess of the night Nyx and her son, Charon.

“All Things End”: This track focuses on endings and how, no matter what, everything has to have an end. It represents watching something you truly believed in fall apart, acknowledging it, and losing your faith in the process.


“To Someone From A Warm Climate”: This track focuses on the experiences of two people parting ways and making sense of the love they once shared. In a more literal sense, it’s about warming the bed for someone who’s from a warm climate and never has to do that. It discusses sharing a space that has been warmed and prepared for them and the love that comes with that.

“Butchered Tongue”: This track focuses on how culture and language can be lost. It mentions the violence that caused its loss and the generosity and kindness that can take its place. It also alludes to having a language that no one understands because the language died with its people.


“Anything But”: This track focuses on someone who’s trying to distance themselves from their partner. Certain lyrics sound sweet but are instead misleading. For example, “If I was a riptide, I wouldn’t take you out,” and “If I had death’s job, you would live forever”. On the surface, it sounds sweet, but in reality it’s saying something along the lines of “I want nothing to do with you.”

“Abstract (Psychopomp)”: This track specifically focuses on the 9th pouch of Fraud, the Pouch of Sowers of Discord or Schematics. Here, souls are punished by being wounded or torn apart. A psychopomp is a mythical being that guides spirits from the world of the living and into the Underworld. The song goes through the perspective of seeing someone sit and comfort an animal that is dying on the side of the road and falling in love with them.


“Unknown/nth”: This track focuses on feeling betrayed and understood in a relationship. The “nth” refers to an unknown, large number, like having your heart broken by this person many times. This circle also houses Beelzebub, who’s chewing on Judas. This comes up later in the song when it references the imagery of seeing bits of your heart in someone’s teeth.


“First Light”: This track focuses on Dante exiting hell. He sees the light and after the constant darkness and pain from hell, it feels like he is seeing light for the very first time. It also focuses on the feeling of being in a new relationship where you have a new light that you don’t want to run from, you just want to embrace it.


I love Unreal Unearth. I loved going through all the songs and trying to discover how each fits into their respected circles. Going through this album helped me have a greater appreciation for certain songs, such as “Anything But”, “To Someone From a Warm Climate”, and “Butchered Tongue”.

The image above is a guide to the 9 circles of hell. It also includes images that help display the punishments.

Works Cited

  • “Hozier | Eat Your Young, Unreal Unearth, Take Me To Church.” Zach Sang Show. YouTube. 22 June 2023.
  • Hozier- De Selby (Behind The Scenes) August 16, 2023
  • Hozier- Francesca (Behind The Scenes) July 19, 2023
  • “Francesca by Hozier.” Song Facts.
  • Hozier- Unknown/nth (Behind The Scenes) July 27, 2023
  • “Hozier Who We Are.” Genius
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About the Contributor
Victoria Schaefer
Victoria Schaefer, Staff Reporter
Hi! My name is Victoria Schaefer and I'm a senior at Elmwood Park High School. After graduating, I'm planning to attend Triton College in the fall.
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