“All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend,” the debut album of Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes (aka AURORA), presents a unique sound that is slow, somber and beautiful. Her music contains elements of upbeat pop melodies, yet still remains a separate entity from the pop category.
At 19 years old, the singer is the age of the average college freshman, but a sage wisdom is laced throughout the album. In her song "Half the World Away," Aksnes sings “my body feels young but my mind is very old,” which falls in line with her nostalgic music that feels reminiscent of another age. Some of her songs could easily be the soundtrack to a medieval TV show as the camera pans over green castles and silent executions.
Perhaps one of Aksnes' most impressive features is her history with music — she wrote the song "Runaway" when she was only 12 years old. She was discovered at a young age when one of her friends posted her music online. From complete anonymity to fame in just a few years, Aksnes has skyrocketed in the ratings, her music standing as the anthem of a mix between sorrow and empowerment.
Her songs blend slow, mournful sounds with stronger, more cheerful tunes to create music that will toy with your emotions. Her song “Conqueror” will quite literally make you want to conquer the world, while “Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1,)” will probably have you sobbing in a puddle of tears on the floor. Her music maintains a folk vibe with synthesized sounds mixed in.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this album is that it comes from Aksnes’ own head. She makes references to drowning, death, rebirth and other deep concepts that seem beyond her years. Her music becomes grotesque and beautiful — a fine line to walk — but Aksnes seems to do it naturally. And of course, like any good pop singer, her music also takes it’s influences from love, but with a darker tone. Aksnes opts for the reckless and dangerous type of romance.
Ultimately, Aksnes’ music is, in one word, ethereal. Her music and words transcend her young age and lack of experience and in turn present her as an old, tortured soul with a beautiful song to sing.