AURORA “What Happened To The Heart?”: A Graceful Sense of Vulnerability and Blissful Sound

Norwegian singer AURORA released her fourth studio album What Happened To The Heart? on Friday, June 7 to mass acclaim. The album truly defies genre, with each song pulling listeners to focus on their emotional journey.

The album centers around the titular question; AURORA was first struck with the notion in the spring of 2022. After diving deeper into “the deeper purpose of our most vital organ,” her album was born. 

The first track “Echo of My Shadow” is a soft ballad​​ that touches on the naturalistic and environmental inspirations behind the album. Upon reading the open letter We Are the Earth, AURORA found herself questioning the negative impacts of humanity on the natural world. In second verse she sings: “If my life is just a moment and this world is ancient/Then the light through my window will fade/Young mountains, old rivers, I let them become me/Right now.”

She continues this naturalistic, intuitive theme on tracks “To Be Alright” and “Some Type Of Skin.” On track six, she switches gears into a more acoustic set. While AURORA is known for her Norwegian electropop sound, her airy and delicate vocals make for phenomenal acoustic sets.

In “The Essence,” AURORA delves into emotional repression. In the chorus she sings: “We are running through the waves of time/And the truth can lie in the arms of a fight.” She repeats “the essence of us” throughout the song, creating an eerie sense of warning to make the listener feel empathetic rather than sympathetic. 

She switches gears slightly in track nine titled “A Soul With No King.” Mixed with the foreboding acoustics of folk music and the hyper synth of New Wave music, AURORA surpasses the bounds of genres. While the lyrics are compelling and haunting, the sound of this particular track establishes her as both a renowned producer and artist. 

AURORA continues to display her mutli-genre instrumentalism on tracks “Do You Feel” and “The Blade,” which stand out on the back half of the album. Both use keyboard and synth to pull listeners in with guttural emotion and force them to stay with her whisper-like vocals.

The album ends with “Invisible Wounds.” The song talks of AURORA appealing to someone for forgiveness and understanding; it seems as though the lyrics are a plea to the environment rather than another person. It is abundantly clever — both through sound and words — as the album comes to a close.

Spanning across 16 tracks, AURORA truly transcends her pop genre and tells a poetic story of feeling with What Happened To The Heart? Unafraid of vulnerability and the implications of honestly, AURORA truly creates community on her latest album.

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Featured Photo Credit: Wanda Martin