Music

Bea Miller’s ‘Aurora’: A Track-by-Track Analysis

Song Like You

Bea Miller starts her album with what is known as the blue chapter, which symbolizes the “realization that somebody in your life is not necessarily good for you”.

The “song,” continually mentioned throughout the piece symbolizes her significant other and compares them to “a ripple of the wave” or “a ballad black swan dance.” She states that if this person were a song, it would “turn her on, break her down.” They would make her feel all of these conflicting emotions at the same time.

She even goes on to say that this person has so much power over her, “it would turn her color into blue.” It is evident that this person is toxic, as “it’s killing her inside,” and is causing her all of this personal turmoil. This song sets the stage for her continual growth throughout the album, from going from this “realization” of a toxic person to letting them go and focusing on herself and her own happiness.

Burning Bridges

This echoey and haunting piece goes from quiet, raspy vocals to powerhouse cries for help. She is heartbroken that this person “burnt the bridges” between them and that they walked away. The end of the chorus has an echo in an electronically-edited voice, which sings, “I can’t help it that I need you,” which emphasizes her painstaking connection and attachment to this person. This is developed further in the pre-chorus when she sings, “can’t stay away from you, I try, I try.”

This is the classic narrative many of us have been through: loving someone you know doesn’t love you back. The story we all know too well is emphasized as she even samples the popular tune of “London Bridge.” This unrequited love is what makes it so painful — and that is clear in her vocals. The power, yet sadness that is behind them is haunting. It is the epitome of the color blue.

Motherlove

A new track from Miller, this song is one of my personal favorites. This new and upbeat part of blue is extremely different compared to the other songs in this section, but beautifully captures the heart of those listening. The song expresses her anger and sadness that someone is “calling her up” only to ever “fuck with her.” And to make matters worse, they tell everyone, “all the dirty things that you do,” yet according to her, this is just not the case. She is so disappointed with the attention and sex life she currently has, that she calls them out directly, saying that, “you’re desperate and full of shit.”

It’s so bad that she would “rather lay in bed and motherlove” herself. The term “motherlove” is being used both physically and figuratively. One one hand she is genuinely “motherloving” herself by masturbating, and on the other, she is truly loving herself figuratively and putting her own needs first. This is furthered when she finally reveals out loud that she realizes “the only time that we get close is when you wanna fuck me over.” This is truly the beginning of the self-love journey Miller takes us on.

I Can’t Breathe

This heartbreaking ballad is another favorite of mine. When I think of the color blue this is truly what I see. This stripped-down piano ballad is touching and haunting, and at the same time is hopeful. It is a realization that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Miller states that she feels as if her “body and mind are so distant” and that she doesn’t “know how to escape from this prison” that is her own mind. The simple statement “I can’t breathe” is a motif throughout the piece and is truly effective in stating so much while saying so little. The bridge is a beautiful buildup of the instrumental theme that carries through the whole song, and let’s waves of blue overcome us listeners.

Like That

This song starts the second chapter of the album, red, which is “what happens when you get out of that [lonely]” place.

She states that while writing this, she still felt “angry and abandoned” but she wanted to stop feeling sorry for herself. This song is the perfect way to transition to this feeling, as immediately the tone changes. The percussion intro tells you that she means business and isn’t letting anyone take her power away from her. The verse builds with instrumental and the chorus goes straight into her voice and the beat, making it extremely powerful. She sings that when you treat her “like that” or like how the person in “Motherlove” or “Burning Bridges” did, she “only gets stronger.”

She relives all of her regrets that happened in that relationship, saying that she “should’ve walked away” as she knew it was a toxic relationship. She reinforces this by retelling the story that they convinced everyone that they alone could save her, yet they were the one who made her fall. This song is the progress you start to see in her as she mentions the horrible things they did, but that she “won’t follow him into the dark.”

Buy Me Diamonds

The most electronic-based song off the album, this is when Miller really starts to address the idea of her self-worth and the importance of it. She knows the promises of her ex saying that he’s “changed” and is “sorry” are only words, so she asks for something more tangible, that she can “trust” and “hold.” In this case, that’s diamonds. She knows that her love and partnership is worth these diamonds, and she holds him to that standard. Instead of singing these lyrics, she more speaks/yells them. By doing this she is showing she won’t be a pushover anymore, but that she’s taking this seriously.

This is another step in the journey of self-love, as she is now not only just saying she’s “moving on” but actually doing it as well. By telling him, “save your love and buy my diamonds” she is acknowledging that she is worth something society considers extremely valuable. She won’t settle for these half-assed lies anymore, she wants true luxury in a relationship.

Outside

This is one of the most relatable songs on the whole album. Not only does Miller encapsulate almost everything our generation is going through, from hating your phone to feeling like a “waste,” this piece makes you think “same” to every single lyric. To me, this song shows the hardest part of self-love: the relapse. When you’ve made all this progress, but you still can’t help feeling like a “waste” and that whatever you say doesn’t matter. Miller is upfront with this struggle as she says, “I don’t even like my friends tonight, I must be out of my mind. I don’t wanna go outside.”

This is a constant problem in today’s society, as many of us deal with mental illnesses that make it hard to enjoy being around other people or getting out of bed. We don’t know how to deal with this, and many of us, like Miller, are told that because we are feeling this way, “we must be out of our minds.” This song draws attention to mental health and how it really does affect many of us — and that it’s more than just wanting to sleep all day. It can be crippling. It’s the times when “I hate my phone, cause it reminds me that I’m alone” or feeling as if  “nobody is listening to me anyway” when it really hurts. But, “Outside” is a reminder that a majority of us do feel this way. We’re not alone in our struggles. If you are in need of help, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You matter.

Girlfriend

This more jazz-influenced song focuses more on Miller’s own personal struggles and how she’s bettering herself, and doesn’t want a “labeled” or official relationship. Rather than the scenario of a guy “not caring” about a girl who loves him (which is a very typical narrative) Miller flips it and makes it her own. She states that its her own need, and that she’ll “be better in the morning” and improve herself more and more each day. She does not want to be tied down, as she says, “it’s not what I’m into, I’m trying to be clear.”

But this guy ignores her obvious negative signals and continues to make himself at home with her and even “drops everything” to answer her call. And although she states time and time again that she “doesn’t need his love,” deep-down she knows that they’re practically in a relationship. The line, “but I’m not brave enough to lose what’s already there” gives her true feelings away. In reality, she’s scared of being committed, as many of us are nowadays. We like not having to be completely true and vulnerable with someone because it keeps us safe.  Miller displays this perfectly throughout the whole song.

Bored

This is a continuation of “Girlfriend” and furthers the unsure “relationship” she has with the guy mentioned previously. She begins this song stating that she doesn’t need a significant other or “someone to bring her flowers,” but simply someone to “talk for hours” with. And although she likes this person and what they have its not enough for her, she’s “bored” with the routine they have. This consists of her calling, them hooking up, and him leaving — which although it is nice, it’s just not enough for her anymore. To me, it seems as if she now wants the “company” he previously offered, but she’s afraid of being “dramatic” as their relationship has yet to be official. But it could also be seen as her being completely over him and their whole situation, as there is no more excitement in them being together; their “bodies are predictable”. But no matter which version you go with, “Bored” is a bop regardless, with a catchy chorus that gets stuck in your head, much like their routine.

Warmer

This is the final song in chapter two, and it ends with Miller finally finding what she’s been looking for. The excitement, passion, and fire, she’s been searching to find with someone. Although it’s hard to tell whether or not she found this with a new person or the guy mentioned in the previous songs, I’m leaning more towards the latter, as the chorus hints to it. She mentions that they are “here again to test the water” meaning they had been there before. And the fact that they are getting “warmer” means they have been looking and searching (like the classic game “hot or cold”). Although I could be looking at this the wrong way, we ultimately hear her find what she’s been looking for is exciting. She takes us on the journey of their “late night driving” and new adventures with this song. The dreamy verses and bridge connect us to their new love, and connects you to the song, even if you haven’t personally experienced it.

Repercussions

This is the perfect start to chapter three, yellow, which is all about the final aspect of self-love, reclaiming yourself. Miller states that her “point of view has been altered” and that she’s “misplaced her own perspective” so she’s taking it back.

Like many of the songs in this final chapter, this is all about empowerment. Miller is gonna “rock the boat and raise some hell” and she “don’t care about the repercussions.” Now she is finally doing things for herself, and is doing what makes her happy. And if this involves getting in some trouble or leaving anyone behind, it doesn’t matter. She continues to go on and say she’s struggling and “on the verge of panic” yet no one believes her and they say she’s “overdramatic.” But, she pushes this aside and continues to repeat the chorus consisting of “rocking the boat and raising hell.”

S.L.U.T

This song has been a personal favorite of mine ever since I discovered it. Miller completely flipped the narrative on the word slut, giving it a new meaning of “sweet little unforgettable thing.” Miller is not shy when it comes to empowerment — and this song is by far one of the strongest and most empowering ones on the album. Reclaiming the word slut inspires women everywhere and is a big power move. This is the epitome of self-love, which has been her journey all along.

The lines, “I love myself I wanna see it, when I turn around look in the mirror” and “I love my ass I wanna shake it, you can thank my mama cause she made it” stuck out the most to me, and make the song what it truly is: a self-love anthem. Even the video features different women singing and dancing and just having fun — which is something women need right now more than ever.

 

Crash&Burn (ft. O’Neil Hudson)

Now that Miller has found her self-love, it’s time that she now addresses the guy briefly mentioned throughout the album. Miller now realizes that she wants to be with him, as “nobody else can turn her out inside herself” except for him. She now says that she “won’t crash and burn this time” and that she’s ready to be with him. This is the perfect wrap up that sets the scene for the final song, “To The Grave.”

To the Grave (ft. Mike Stud)

You did it! You reached the end! Are you ready for the final song? Because I definitely wasn’t. The final song wraps up everything Miller mentioned, as she finally reached the last stage of accepting herself. She says that she “can’t keep hiding what’s underneath, no fancy covering, you get just what you see,” which is what we get with this album. Miller did not hide anything from us, her flaws, her struggles, or her journey. She reveals to us that this album is her “breaking down” and telling us all the things she can’t “take to the grave.”

She tells us that she “was feeling empty” and that instead of facing her problems she ran. But in her experience, she tells us, “running only gets you where you see.” The rap section goes more in-depth with her final thoughts on herself and her music, she knows that she’s “been careless,” “thoughtless,” “a working progress,” but she “stays ready for anything.”

Check Out: Bea Miller Completes The Spectrum With ‘Aurora’

Cover Image Courtesy of Bea Miller

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