Norway’s freedom writer, AURORA invites us back into her dreamy world of purity with her sophomore album A Different Kind of Human (Step 2) succeeding her previously released EP Infections of a Different Kind (Step 1). Her first album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, peaked at #1 in her home country, sparking international fame following her debut EP Running With The Wolves in 2015.
AURORA opens with her third single from the album, “The River”, which was initially released on May 10, approaching the audience with a cheery and angelic track educating that no one is alone, emotions are always valid, and to never “..forget who you are even though you’re in need”. Aurora and her band yet again provide the most angelic harmonies I’ve ever heard, and a super effective yet haunting and intriguing echo/delay. Next, her first single from the album, “Animal” on January 26th, provided an optimistic track as an introduction to the album, imprinting a nature-based approach or motif for what was to come on her sophomore release. A more dancy, electropop tune with less philosophical intention, per se, intrigues the audience to take a step into AURORA’s newest world, then she hits them with the lessons. We then dance into “Dance On The Moon”, a steady and breezy tune where Aurora’s airy vocals are accentuated most provided the space themed track succeeded by “Daydreamer”, a protestful anthem for being greater than just people who think about making change. An anthem for those who have the power to change lives and for those too afraid to, the warrior princess Aurora herself asks, “I’m just a girl / can I change lives?”- and the answer is YES YOU CAN, QUEEN. “Hunger”, another protestful and chant-like song with what sounds to be of Eastern influence takes a spiritual grasp, referencing Nirvana, avatars, and being “born for some time”- which seems to be referencing several lives or reincarnation.
Another haunting and thought provoking track, “Soulless Creatures” invokes a visit to our own minds and hearts, with the lyric “I give both sides of me” resonating with me. The referencing to the heart is supported with the constant background pulse, similar to a heartbeat alongside a sci-fi-esque industrial sound, complimenting Aurora’s sequencing and trill-like vocals on this track. Aurora supplies some of her most visually confronting and confusing metaphors in “In Bottles” with the first verse stating, “I put my tears in bottles / In case I need them later” “And if I get thirsty / will they make me sad forever?” as well as in her second verse, “I will kindly watch you sleep / And I find out that your eyes are open / I hide other pieces that you never would have liked / If you knew about them / So I hide my children”.
“The Seed”, her second single released April 5, is by far one of my favourite tracks from this album. Aurora takes on a Buddhist throat singing influence and sound pre-chorus, chanting with her fist held high, “you cannot eat money / when the last tree has fallen and the rivers are poisoned / you cannot eat money”. One of the things I love most about Aurora’s music and lyrics is the way she paints her songs as a work of art, and tells her story through her amazing use of imagery and metaphors and creates a theme for particular songs and carries out these motifs. In “The Seed”, Aurora takes the earthy theme and illustrates with vivid and intricate detail, “suffocate me / so that my tears can be rain / and water the ground where I stand”, as well as providing nature sounds in the background towards the bridge, and chanting “feed me sunlight / feed me air”, as if she herself is The Seed- the seed that is planted for generations to come.
Her title track, “A Different Kind of Human” supports the vocal influence of Enya, and sounds very much like an alien message. Similarly, her final track “Mothership” follows this extra-terrestrial theme with Aurora’s haunting and Siren-like vocals, accompanied with airy and spacey instrumentation, and questioning lyrics- “Am I home?”. She concludes the track by stating “Now you are home”, followed by a succumbing and vacuum-like silence.
AURORA seamlessly voices and protests with the most graceful force, along with endless and infectious passion and power. She is one of the 21st century’s most passionate and influential writers who deserves so much more credit and recognition for the power of her words and of her voice.