I stumbled upon AURORA my junior year of high school with the song, “Running with the Wolves.” To this day, the song is a power anthem for me with its message of freedom and nature.
Aurora Aksnes, known mononymously as AURORA, is a Norwegian singer-songwriter and record producer, who — like the title of her latest album — is a different kind of human. Her ethereal style and angelic voice will definitely have you feeling you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it.
Released last year, “A Different Kind of Human” is a continuation of AURORA’s 2018 album, “Infections of a Different Kind,” and is a true symbol of human empowerment. It reminds us that we’re all warriors, different yet the same. AURORA’s music can be described as electropop and “A Different Kind of Human” does not fall short of being a different kind of album. Each song is beautifully crafted with intricate harmonies and idiosyncrasies, which set it apart from anything else in the mainstream.
The song that introduced me to the album was track 10: “The Seed.” It’s first verse is a cry for growth with lyrics like, “Just like the seed/I don’t know where to go/Through dirt and shadow, I grow/I’m reaching light through the struggle.” With thundering drums and soaring vocals, “The Seed” also has a powerful message in its chorus: “When the last tree has fallen/And the rivers are poisoned/You cannot eat money,” which is in reference to an old proverb, “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money,” said to have been a prophecy of the Cree Indians. AURORA warns us that we are depleting the earth of its resources with our greed, reminding us that all we need are the bare necessities: love, nature and ourselves.
“The River” is the first track on the album and while it has a calmer sound than “The Seed,” it does not fall short of being empowering. “The River” is a song meant to break the stigma of vulnerability. It’s a song about letting out all your emotions and knowing that letting them out is a symbol of strength and not of weakness. With lyrics like “Don’t forget who you are even though you’re in need/Like a bird in the night, your emotions deserve to be freed/You can cry, drinking your eyes,” we’re reminded of just how liberating crying is. When the song was released, AURORA even took to Twitter saying, “Crying can be a happy experience especially afterwards when you feel a bit lighter. That’s what The River is about!”
In an interview with Live in Limbo, while talking about the title track, “A Different Kind of Human,” AURORA stated that it was “the most important song [she’d] ever written” and features many beautiful harmonies, some autotuned and some angelic. She explained that this song is about her take on the afterlife, assuring listeners that they are special and that they shouldn’t worry about feeling out of place. “Apple Tree” is another track empowering us to all save the world together. Straddling hip-hop and pop, this song is one of AURORA’s most diverse songs, which she describes as “very alive” and with a “bad-ass groove.”
AURORA’s music is unique in the sense that it is rooted in humanity and etherealness. It’s the kind of music that empowers us to become the best versions of ourselves and care for each other. With one listen of any song on the album, you’ll be feeling ready to take on the world.
Photo: S. Wilkes