It’s not the war but what’s behind it
Lord, the fear of foul men is mere assignment
And everythin’ that we’re denied by keepin’ the divide
It’s not the wakin’, it’s the risin
Like many Americans I have woken up to news headlines that have both flabbergasted and frightened me. You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless. So when I heard “Nina Cried Power” off of Hozier’s newest album “Wasteland Baby!” I felt it captured perfectly that weariness. He sings “it’s not the wakin, its the risin”. When I hear those lines I interpret it as the heaviness that you feel when you wake to bad news. Opening my eyes was the easy part but getting up and dealing with the ways of the world now that’s a little harder.
The song is a protest song that honors other artist who were known for their protest songs. Songs like Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn”, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, and The Staples Singers’ “Freedom Highway.” These songs are as relevant as they were back in the Civil Rights Era as woman and people of color continue to be denied their rights. Staples Singer member Mavis Staples is even featured on the song providing that bridge to the past.
Art in it’s various mediums is a great way to broadcast political messages. Music is able to communicate to the world a powerful message in a three-four minute enjoyable package. Hozier isn’t American, he hails from Ireland but I appreciate his tribute to the protest singers before him in this highly contentious time in our country.
And I could cry power (power)
Nina cried power
Billie cried power
Mavis cried power
(Photo by Shawn Hoke)