By Hannah Thompson, Second Year English
Mythical, ethereal and powerful; AURORA’s new album The Gods We Can Touch creates a presentation of an intersection of the human and the spiritual, as each entrancing track introduces a different God.
In parts ethereal ambience, in others driven electronic dance beats, The Gods We Can Touch proves the singer-songwriter’s ability to create musical enchantments that span a multitude of genres.
Written hidden away in Norway, AURORA’s fifth album does indeed seem to be infused with a divine essence. The album begins with a short lyric-less track and the listener is immediately enticed into her realm of angelic acoustics. The title ‘The Forbidden Fruits of Eden’ couldn’t be more appropriate as this song, and indeed the entire album is an expression of allure and desire with a pervasive danger that haunts the tracks.
‘Everything Matters’ is a stand-out track of the album. Lyrically, it moves from personal storytelling to transcendental cosmic elements (such as ‘we are an atom and a star’). A mundane relationship becomes transformed by the divine. The collaboration with French singer-songwriter Pomme enhances the mystical beauty of the track, with both artists proving the subtle power of their chamber-pop harmonies.
‘Giving In To The Love’ is a more conventional and catchy pop tune, whilst ‘Cure for Me’ ventures into EDM territory. Both lyrically focus on the transformative power of love with compelling, catchy refrains.
The album then retreats into a quieter, more reflective space in ‘Exist for Love’, as AURORA’s folk-sounding vocals combine with acoustic guitar to portray the dream-like consciousness of falling in love. As a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the line ‘I can’t imagine how it is to be forbidden from loving’ expresses her activist perspective, professing the injustice of the criminalisation of queer love around the world.
Employing yet another genre, ‘The Innocent’ plays with conventions of jazz, as her vocals are accompanied throughout by a syncopated chordal piano, brass and pizzicato strings. These elements create an upbeat dance track, harking back to the 1920s Jazz Age conventions, yet being undercut with a more current EDM feel.
AURORA’s previous portrayal of love as something positively enrapturing and revelatory is subverted in ‘A Dangerous Thing’, as the refrain depicts the hazardous instability of the described relationship. Thus, the album creates a rich and multi-faceted presentation of relationships: that which can be euphoric and transcendent can quickly switch to fear and turbulence.
‘Artemis’ is crafted using a folk basis, utilising an accordion to create a mysterious and medieval-sounding accompaniment. The song’s title explicitly references Greek mythology and this is maintained throughout the album, as Exist for Love introduces Aphrodite and This Could Be A Dream characterises Morpheus. This gives the album even further celestial charm, as the listener is surrounded both musically and lyrically by a divine aura.
All in all, AURORA’s fifth album is incredibly successful. It yet again proves her talent in creating both powerful, electronic dance tracks that can be enjoyed in the mainstream, as well as retreating into a personal, reflective space. Regardless of the genre, it is her idiosyncratic ethereal vocals which breathe invigorating life into every track.
Featured image: Decca Records
Have you heard the new album?