With her tiny stature, icy-blonde bobbed hair, and blues eyes the size of a child’s wonder of the galaxy, it is difficult to not mistake AURORA for some ethereal woodland fairy queen. The analogy of an “ethereal woodland fairy queen” may get thrown around gratingly too often, at least on Tumblr, but even beyond just her appearance, the Norway native’s voice and uniquely expressive performance style is so enchanting you might catch yourself forgetting that AURORA is, in fact, as human as the rest of us (I think).
The 19 year old singer, full name Aurora Aksnes (I mean, come on, even her name is fitting for a mystical being), released her first full-length album on March 11 of this year titled All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend. The surprisingly darkly named album has a track list numbering 17 songs, making it a pretty hefty debut album. However, despite the length AURORA carries it magically.
Since the track list is so long, I decided to break the album down into 3 different playlist categories: Confronting Your Demons, Rainy Days in the Nordic Woodlands, and Adventure Songs.
Confronting Your Demons
Considering the album title is literally about greeting your demons, it is not really surprising the Confronting Your Demons playlist is the longest; but it does only beat Rainy Days in the Nordic Woodlands by one song. All of AURORA’s darkest songs from lyrics to overall sound were sorted into this playlist.
- The opening track of the album sets the tone for the eerie adventure to come. “Runaway” lets AURORA’s enchanting voice take center stage with minimal production.
#3: Running With The Wolves
- As one of the album’s singles and the title of her previous EP, “Running With The Wolves” is the song with the highest potential for mainstream success with the explosive chorus and upbeat synth backing. The lyrics of “There’s blood on your lies, the sky’s open wide/ There is no place for you to hide, the harvest moon is shining bright” conjures up beautiful witchy vibes.
- “Lucky” is a bit of a slower lullaby talking about remembering all the places the singer has been before she “makes the offering.” “And I feel the light for the very first time / Not anybody knows that I am lucky to be alive.”
#5: Winter Bird
- Sleepwalking has never felt as ominous as it does in this track. “Walking in my sleep like the naked trees / Will they wake up again? / Do they sleep, do they dream?”
#6: I Went Too Far
- The chorus of this song is surprisingly upbeat and lighthearted for the rest of the lyrics that are begging for love from someone who doesn’t have love to give back. “I went too far when I was begging on my knees / When I cut my hands so you could stand and watch me bleed / I went too far and kissed the ground beneath your feet.”
#9: Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1)
- Definitely the most explicitly “dark” song of this album, AURORA said that she wrote she wrote this song from the perspective of someone who has come to accept their murderer. “He holds the gun to my head / I close my eyes and bang I’m dead / I know he knows he killing me for mercy.” The chilling lyrics of this track are offset by the strange synth bagpipe intrumentals.
#11: Under The Water
- “Under The Water” gets the last place on the “Confronting Your Demons” playlist and ends it with images of grappling with your demons underwater. Pretty fitting, right?
Rainy Days in the Nordic Woodlands
These are all songs from the album that I feel like could just naturally be playing from the forests of Norway. Think foggy skies, mist-darkened towering trees, and moss-covered feet. Of course, some of the songs are darker than others, but what’s a walk in the woods without the eerie feeling of not being completely alone?
#7: Through The Eyes Of A Child
- Once again AURORA’s voice takes center stage on “Through The Eyes Of A Child” for another lullaby-like track. Listening to this song is like laying in a mossy meadow with your eyes closed.
- The haunting echo-y chorus in “Home” is reminiscent of what I would imagine the feeling of drifting through heavy fog would feel like. “We are not alive /We are surviving every time / Wrapped inside a cocoon made of flesh and bones, does it really matter where you come from? / We are home.”
#12: Black Water Lilies
- The shimmering crystal-like sound of an intro to this song is like sunlight refracting underwater in an undulating pond and the feeling carries throughout the track. “When I am on a boat, I float I know I can never drown / I see underwater now, the wind is the only sound.”
#12: Half The World Away
- “I would like to leave this city / This old town don’t smell too pretty / I can feel the warning signs running around my mind.” A slower song, “Half The World Away” is the song you would listen to on the way to getting lost in the woods.
#14: Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1) (Acoustic)
- I know I put the original version of this song in the Confronting Your Demons playlist, but the acoustic version has such a soft peacefulness to it, as if I could see the ghost of the victim finally finding peace in the forest.
#16: Wisdom Cries
- “Wisdom Cries” is probably the most ambient noise-sounding track of this playlist. There are a lot of soft pauses and her lyrics are bit more jumbled than the other tracks. The occasional string instruments add another creepy layer to this song.
The tracks on this playlist are a bit varied, and the adventure ranges anywhere from exciting journeys to new lands, to solemn Lord of the Rings-style missions.
- AURORA doesn’t really make pop music, but “Conqueror” is definitely the most “pop” on the album. It is very upbeat and catchy, with the “Adventure” theme coming through in the lyrics where the singer is searching for her conqueror.
- “I fall asleep in my own tears / I cry for the world, for everyone / And I build a boat to float in, I’m floating away.” In this bouncy track AURORA is a self-proclaimed warrior of love and is off to “battle the night.”
#15: Nature Boy
- “Nature Boy” is definitely where the Lord of the Rings vibe comes in and I could honestly picture this fable-like song in in a LOTR movie. “There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy / They say he wandered very far, very far over land and sea.”
#17: Running With The Wolves (Pablo Nouvelle Remix)
- Despite the original of this track appearing on the Confronting Your Demons playlist, the remixed version adds a sense of urgent tension that would be the perfect soundtrack to a tumultuous journey and is a fantastic wrap up to this expansive album.