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Bigger Than Us

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2001 1 Jan
Bigger Than Us
Sounds like … girl teen pop very much like ZOEgirl, ShineMK, Dream, and Spice Girls.At a Glance … the follow-up from Aurora is teen pop at its most formulaic, but fans of the genre (i.e. 8-to-14-year-old girls) will probably embrace this as an alternative to mainstream acts.

It hasn't even been a year and a half yet since Aurora's teen pop debut, one of the first girl pop recordings to come through the pipeline recently. Aurora is comprised of the Smith sisters — twins Rachel and Raquel and their sister Lauren, 11 months their senior. I kind of liked Aurora's self-titled debut because it was a slightly different sounding girl pop, featuring lots of electric guitars — you could hum along and dance to it, but it also rocked.

For their follow-up album, Bigger Than Us, Aurora goes for a more typical girl-pop sound. It almost sounds as though Aurora is trying to mimic similar, more successful girl pop groups (such as ZOEgirl and Dream) in the way they touch upon every hook, sound effect, bell, and whistle used by such groups. "Just the Way You Are," a song that simply explores God's unconditional love for us, features the overused "Cher warble" and some distracting spoken-word bits between the song lyrics. The song "The Way That You Love Me," also about God's love for us, tries to be trendy and cool with a lot of digital effects upfront, meant to sound like a series of false starts. Instead, it feels like 40 seconds of wasted time waiting for the song to actually begin. "Rekindle the Flame" is a little interesting with its African music undertones (think The Lion King), and "I Dedicate This Heart To You" sounds better than the other tracks because it doesn't try to overwhelm the listener with special effects. Incredibly, with so many songs on the album showing off an array of production tricks, the sound flips a complete 180 with the title track, a big adult contemporary power ballad along the lines of Point of Grace or Sierra. The song feels a little out of place among the dance-pop beats of the other tracks.

This isn't exactly a genre known for deep lyrical content, but some tracks do come across as a little overly simplistic - more like Jump 5 than ZOEgirl, Stacie Orrico, or Joy Williams. But again, Aurora seems to be shifting their focus to a younger audience, so their simple songs of God's love and making the Lord first in our life are appropriate for the 8-to-14-year-old girl in your life. Aurora is an adequate, safe, and spiritual alternative to the racy mainstream girl-pop artists still popular today.

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