The opening track on Aurora’s sophomore album ‘Infections of a Different Kind- Step 1’, “Queendom” is a utopia where all people and nature are powerfully united as one.
Aurora Aksnes entered the music scene presented as a fairy figure scattering mesmeric harmonies from somewhere otherworldly. She’d scatter them across the Earth via Stavanger, Norway, her ‘hometown’, the songs being tales set in the great outdoors while evoking snowy landscapes and innocent loneliness.
Two years after her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, it’s as though mountains have become pedestals on which the protagonist now rises and whose inner strength is charged by nature’s simplest of powers: The moon at night, a river streaming with purity during the day. “Queendom,” released last April, places emphasis upon this while combining the fictional and real to form an anthem for outcasts.
Listen: “Queendom” – Aurora
The first single marking her return, “Queendom” sets the tone for a new chapter. The pulsing synths are combined with a tribal feel in the marching chorus (the repetition of the lines ‘Till Queendom come/ My Queendom come’) proceeding an Aurora wail. It gives the impression of emerging from a forest into the city while stomping down all current hindrances, whether that be the people who misunderstand you or societal standards that may provoke insecurity.
The sea waves are my evening gown
And the sun on my head is my crown
I made this Queendom on my own
And all the mountains are my throne
I hunt the ground for empathy
And hate the way it hides from me
With care and thirst I have become
You have a home in my Queendom
Aurora’s latest album, Infections of a Different Kind – Step 1 (released September 28 via Glassnote), which “Queendom” is the opening track of, is a continuation of this theme. “Soft Universe” demonstrates the impact that working together can have on outlooks while in “Churchyard” we are presented with two kinds of power: the destructive dominance held by another person and how the victim can return later with a vengeance, taking hatred and injustice and using it as a fuel for self-confidence. “Gentle Earthquakes” uses imagery of rivers, mountains and earthquakes as way of highlighting changes in the body and a later verse in “Forgotten Love” consists of the cries of an imaginary language which she’s described on Twitter as being personally made up, not intended to be understood as words but rather emotions translated to music that alter depending on the energy put into them. These narratives are accompanied by a production that’s electronically layered and energised, more intense than her debut.
The underdogs are my lions
The silent ones are my choir
The women will be my soldiers
With the weight of life on their shoulders
Drink until you’ve had enough
I’ll drink from your hands
I will be your warrior
I will be your lamb
Queendom as a place is a metaphorical utopia bringing people together. It’s fictionalised but with a motive grounded in reality. Sometimes a song is what is needed to fill the helpless with a sense of empowerment, giving people a voice or a rush of motivation. To face the world, it’s good to dream. To fantasise can give strength. Aurora, who tends to have the ability to take people on a journey, is using that to her advantage.
? © Morgan Hill-Murphy