ALBUM RATING: 85
AURORA’s third, and most philosophical album to date, draws inspiration from the duality of light and dark, finding comfort within the smaller, often unappreciated, miracles of life. Despite taking a step into the unknown, doing so alongside long-term collaborator Magnus Skylstad, ensures any experimentation is achieved in a way which compliemnts her ethereal voice, which remains the selling point of her music.
Following the cinematic instrumental which serves as a welcoming to her spiritual world, ‘Everything Matters’ introduces one of the album’s more recurring themes in ‘purpose’, with lyrics such as “here we are, an atom and a star”, projecting meaning onto the smaller elements of life, which remain a vital “part of the movement”. While also laying the thematic foundation for the album, this track also flaunts AURORA’s flawless falsetto vocals, as well showcasing the intimate qualities of French Singer-Songwriter, Pomme, on what is the album’s only vocal feature.
Despite embracing her spirituality, the Norwegian’s journey towards freedom is achieved by being unapologetically true to herslef, presented no more so than on ‘Giving In To The Love’, a Scandipop anthem in which she defiantly states “If I’ll be somebody, I’ll never let my skin decide it for me”. AURORA extends on this theme of self-worth and acceptance, with the upbeat dance-pop ‘Cure For Me’ serving as a protest song against the legality of conversion therapy, which to this day is still offered in Norway, among many other countries. Exploring such a desolate topic through one of her more rhythmic dance-tracks, AURORA is able to provide a brighter outlook for the future, synonymously portaying the idea that everyone is worthy of love.
The yin and yang relationship with religion throughout the album provides a cohesive body of work, which sees AURORA embrace the good, and the evil, which has emanated from religious beliefs.’Heathens’ is an excellent example of this conflict, where on one hand religion has provided feminist icons such as Eve, who in “stealing from the trees of Eden”, granted humankind with free-will. On the other hand, AURORA also acknowledges the distasteful portrayal of women through religion, which often saw them depicted as “evil”, purely on the basis of being a woman. While certainly not as experimental sonically, these powerful and expressive lyrics have rightly seen her earn comparisons with visionaries such as Bjork.
AURORA’s graceful exploration into darkness, achieved in a way which avoids nihlism, ensures she finds strength in weakness, and beauty among the ugly. This is reinforced by her frequent personification of nature, such as her performance on ‘Exhale, Inhale’, in which she claims she “was ice before it melts, the tree before it fell”. The cinematic ambience of this track is one of the countless times throughout the album which reinforces the poetic nature of her lyrics, which add brightness to a dark canvas.
While tracks like the progressive folk driven ‘A Dangerous Thing’ and the 80s synth-pop ‘A Temporary High’ may be considered standout moments for the album, there are distinct elements across each individual track which makes the entire album an incredible, ethereal experience. Through embracing her spirituality while exploring a range of themes, AURORA has created a unique, expressive art-pop album, which should certainly stand the test of time.
Favourite Tracks: Everything Matters (feat. Pomme), Heathens, The Innocent, A Dangerous Thing, Blood In The Wine
Worst Track: N/A