It feels like it’s been ages since I blogged about music (because it has). But I feel I can only really write about music when I feel something strongly either way. I hadn’t realised how absent that had been until stumbling across AURORA.
It’s my fault really, as I’ve felt I’ve been juggling many different projects that hadn’t allowed for me to sit and take in what I’m listening too. It’s been much easier to just put on a playlist of songs I already know, letting them pass in the background as I focus on a more important task at hand. And when a new song creeped in whilst I listened to the radio I rarely paid attention.
My usual mission for new music and emotive songs was placed on temporary hiatus.
But it’s back on now.
Because of my hiatus, I don’t remember where I first sourced AURORA. I couldn’t tell you if it was trawling Apple Music, or YouTube or listening to the radio. I can only remember that the first song I heard was the Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) – the acoustic version.
At the time of hearing this song for the first time, I:
Didn’t know it was the acoustic version
Stopped the thing I was working on
It felt like an age since I’d stopped to listen to a beautiful piece of music. Since I’d taken the time to listen to what a lyric was saying. I was at work. So a momentary stop on my typing was probably noticeable but at least I heard it via my own headphones, which meant I could instantly re-listen.
I make no secret of loving a moody guitar and soft voice and that’s exactly what AURORA’s Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (acoustic) is.
Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) – acoustic
If you didn’t listen to the above, then you probably aren’t sure what I mean. But the acoustic version of the Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) begins with guitar chords and a softly voiced countdown.
It was almost a given I’d be hooked. A guitar and a countdown? Is there a more leading way to get somebody’s attention?
The lyrics journey through a the death of the author (the person singing, not a sung version of Barthes literary thought). It touches upon the idea of mercy killing, being a witness to your own death and the aftermath. It’s emotive in words alone and poetic in its journey.
That alone would be enough for me to listen to this song on repeat, much to Chris’ delight. Yet the song also perfectly spans the highs and lows that music alone has.
It begins soft and leading. Emotive and sad. Short and descriptive. AURORA leads a journey into what is taking place and layers it with a high masculine voice and guitar notes.
The standout piece for me is approximately two minutes 30 into the song where AURORA shows off her vocal ability and pitches high. The lyrics here are much the same than the rest of the song but her vocal reach and the masculine layering within the song really offset and give power to what’s being said.
Some music fans think acoustic music can be samey. I disagree (as my YouTube Work Music playlist is testament too) but this song blows that theory out of the water regardless.
It does not however make for a good driving song. I cannot reach the same pitch. I sound like a cat, regardless of how many times I repeat the song and try.
I soon discovered, after searching Apple Music for more of AURORA’s music that the version of the Murder Song I had first listened to was not the original version. Or at least not the popular version. There are two versions of this song floating about and the original (that I might incorrectly be calling it) is a more upbeat and electronic version of the same song.
This was where I began to question my decision to download all the back catalogue of AURORA’s music.
Upon first hearing the non-acoustic version of the Murder Song I hated it.
Literally didn’t want to listen to it the whole way through. THIS WAS RASH and really unfair.
It’s actually an awesome song, once you distinguish it from the acoustic version. I still think the acoustic version is a more beautiful representation of the song and the lyrics. But the stop in my day that the acoustic version caused meant that the non acoustic version had high expectations to live up to.
However the non-acoustic version is more catchy. And way more likely to be something that gets airplay, especially on popular radio.
Indie Mag, when previewing another song of AURORA’s, described her sound as atmospheric pop music. But I’m not so sure.
Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) reminds me of a tame version of Crystal Castles crossed with Bat For Lashes. It has the same haunting atmosphere of some of my favourite Bat for Lashes songs with the same blatant, attention grabbing singing that Crystal Castles sometimes uses.
I do think there is an element of construction that is common in pop music. But I think Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) explores what depths electro sounds can have in creating an emotive atmosphere. An atmosphere that leads towards sorrow or fear.
Either way I don’t think genre’s should be something to put you off this song, or even to put you off AURORA. The norwegian late teen is super talented and emotive in both renditions of Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1).
My top tip, if you listen to both versions, would be to separate them as different songs and then go and listen to AURORA’s latest EP. I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
I think AURORA will be a name to stay, especially with her release Running with the Wolves. Let me know what you think.
If you liked this review, why not read some of my other music reviews here?