The song Nina Cried Power was Hozier’s first song released after a long music hiatus. On this hiatus, Hozier says he explored different styles of music, trying to find what his next sound would be. With the song that propelled him into the spotlight, Take Me to Church, followed by his title album, the artist seemed to dance around genres of pop, and was even classified as pop soul and blues rock by rateyourmusic. His newest release is still reminiscent of this original sound, but includes a more expansive palette of genres and styles, both in the vocal style and instrumentation.

Mavis Staples and Hozier performing Nina Cried Power on Ellen.

Nina Cried Power dips in to the style of black empowerment music, spanning genres of blues, rock, R&B and gospel. He uses many different methods of achieving this sound, even using call and response and even featuring blues singer Mavis Staples on the track. The piece begins like a typical Hozier song, with a thumping bass line and his smooth vocals over top, but quickly explodes into an anthem with layers of drums, hand percussion,  and gospel choir vocals. To add to it, Mavis Staples does an almost spoken breakdown with a solo bass at the bridge, which reminds us of a lot of many songs that were essential to the civil rights movement during the blues and funk eras. Billboard music online writes about this single as a part of his overall EP, saying that is a celebration of its gospel and R&B roots while still holding to his  love of the American rock style.

It is important to take into account that Hozier is a 6’6″ white Irish man, so his exploration into the genre may raise some flags. But an online music blog DailyCal writes that Hozier “acknowledges the narrative of musical appropriation and turns it into one of appreciation”. As a childhood fan of blues and ever the socially conscious citizen, Hozier takes great measures to ensure that his use of this music style is nothing but an appreciation for those who came before him, with a bit of his own adaptation.