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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
View All
Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

Unearthing the Fictitious Mind of an Irish Philosopher | “De Selby (Part 1)” by Hozier

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Irish artist Hozier released his new album Unreal Unearth on Aug. 18, 2023, with the ghostly, melodic opening track “De Selby (Part 1).” The song is home to a plethora of Irish symbolism and allusion in its lyrics, the outro of which is written in Irish Gaelic. 

“De Selby” is a fictitious character from Flann O’Brien’s novel The Third Policeman. With de Selby’s contradictory roles as philosopher and scientist, Hozier describes him as “part genius, part lunatic” in his Behind The Song interview. De Selby’s character examines the meaning of life and death as it fits in with the nature of the human experience. 

One of the interesting theories of de Selby’s found within “De Selby (Part 1)” is the idea that mirrors hold the secrets to eternity

“Your Reflection can’t offer a word /

To the bliss of not knowin’ yourself.” 

De Selby theorized that if a man were to stand before a mirror and see his reflection, instead of seeing a true reproduction of himself, he would see his younger self. Hozier illustrates this same idea with these lyrics, and describes this ignorance of your true self as bliss. This invites a dark theoretical tone that is consistent throughout the entirety of the song.

With these allusions, as Hozier says in his Behind The Song interview, the album opens with a song that reflects upon darkness — a darkness that frees all things lost within it. This metaphorical darkness proposes the idea that you cannot see where one thing begins and where it ends.

This theme is explored through the format of a love song in the Gaelic outro. One specific verse from the outro translates into Although you are bright and light, you arrive to me like nightfall. 

This romantic interest takes the pair and envelopes them into darkness with the intensity of their love, in a sense metamorphosing them together. You are unable to see where one person begins and where they end. The next song on the album, “De Selby (Part 2),” continues to explore these themes in the form of an alternative/indie track.

All in all, “De Selby (Part 1),” with its rich lyrics and meaning, is the perfect song to listen to when you’re on your way to class and want to pretend you’re walking the misty moors of Ireland instead of the MSU demonstration field. 

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