AURORA has often flirted with mass appeal, while maintaining a wonderful weirdness that could never be truly mainstream. The multi-multi-multi-million streaming Norwegian sensation first dabbled with the former when she covered Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’ for the John Lewis Christmas ad back in 2015, while her epic alt-pop debut ‘All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend’ the following year showed that she had the songs and the sincerity to prove she was not a gimmick.
Her early single ‘Runaway’, credited by Billie Eilish as one of the songs that first inspired her to make music, enjoyed a renaissance last year when it re-entered the charts the world over after becoming a surprise smash on TikTok. You may have also heard her on the Frozen 2 soundtrack back in 2019. There have never been this many eyes on AURORA, and third album ‘The Gods We Can Touch’ is a record that seizes the opportunity to take the world on and fight with all her power.
Much of AURORA’s previous output has dabbled in the political, using music as a rallying cry for LGBTQ+ rights or standing up for Mother Nature (she was one of the key artists to make an appearance at COP26). This time, she’s concerned with matters of the heart. You can hear it on the club-ready ‘Cure For Me’, an EDM-tinged statement for sexual freedom, being yourself and fighting “the misapprehensions about our nature in love”. It’s a track that has has more in common with Madonna than a lot of the Nordic folk-pop comparisons that some may have lazily thrown at her past work and last record ‘A Different Kind Of Human (Step 2)’.
Having previously worked with The Chemical Brothers, AURORA now sounds pretty confident on the dancefloor. ‘The Innocent’ swaggers with house-y piano and a Eurovision-worthy chorus, while the electro-driven ‘A Temporary High’ will have you reaching for your fingerless leather gloves. Same goes for the euphoric and surefire television summer festival 2022 montage soundtrack ‘Give In To The Love’ – another ode for self-belief: “I never had the world, so why change for it?”
All that vim is balanced by the moments of calm, with the likes of the subtle but soaring baroque touches of ‘You Keep Me Crawling’, the European waltz of ‘Artemis’, the Fleetwood Mac thumper ‘Blood In The Wine’ and the heavenly ‘Everything Matters’ (complete with a spoken word part from the brilliant French singer-songwriter Pomme). All the influences are controlled and tastefully curated; her focus is sharp. ‘The Gods We Can Touch’ is loaded with AURORA’s idiosyncratic quirks and enchanting notions, but it’s never purely a slave to whimsy. Now’s the time to give in to AURORA.
Release date: January 21
Record label: Decca/Glassnote