There’s No Bad Song on AURORA—But Some Are Better Than Others
Based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel of the same name, Amazon Prime Video’s latest breakout hit is Daisy Jones & The Six, a documentary-style drama series that chronicles the tumultuous rise and fall of a Fleetwood Mac-esque ’70s rock band. Much to the surprise and delight of fans, the show’s release was accompanied by Aurora (the album that Daisy & Co. are shown writing and recording in the series) getting a release on both vinyl and streaming. Aurora features vocals from actors Riley Keough (Daisy) and Sam Claflin (Billy) as well as a production team spearheaded by Blakes Mills and including Marcus Mumford, Phoebe Bridgers, Jackson Browne. Full of power duets, rock-n-roll anthems, and tender love songs, here’s every track on Daisy Jones & The Six’s Aurora, ranked.
Truly, there isn’t a flat-out bad song on AURORA, but if I had to pick my least favorite, it’d be “Please”. The song is a Billy solo, with desperate, pleading lyrics about someone not wanting to give into a temptation they so deeply desire. Whether it’s about his drug use or his fascination with Daisy, I’m not quite sure, but the repetitive keys and the strange percussion make the song feel jarringly cold and modern when contrasted with the mostly true-to-the-era instrumentals on the rest of the album. Coupled with the fact that Claflin is the weaker vocalist of the duo, “Please” undoubtedly would’ve been an AURORA B-side back in the day.
10) “No Words”
Maybe I just have a vendetta against slow songs, but “No Words”, the album closer, is another one of AURORA‘S weaker tracks. The production feels arbitrary and not particularly purposeful—like a bunch of Fleetwood Mac elements were tossed in a blender and the result was this instrumental. The lyrics are also frustratingly weak—ironic that a song about not being able to find the words to express how you feel is lacking when it comes to lyrics. Though Keough and Claflin’s (or is it Daisy and Billy’s?) soulful vocals help elevate the repetitive vocals, this is another skip-able entry on AURORA.
9) “You Were Gone”
Before you come running with your pitchforks and knives, let me get something out of the way: from this point on, I’m actively a fan of every song remaining on the album. It’s not that “You Were Gone” is bad, per se, it’s just that the other tracks are stronger. The breezy, summery production of “You Were Gone” makes the mid-album track a satisfying filler entry, but the lighthearted nature of the track means it doesn’t hit *quite* as hard as some of the more lyrically or musically complex tracks.
8) “More Fun To Miss”
An outlier on AURORA, “More Fun To Miss” is without question the edgiest, most biting track on the album—though Riley Keough’s voice always has some rasp to it, she turns that edge into almost full-blown screaming for some of the vocals on this rock-heavy track. The lyrics (which, as the title implies, are about a woman who’s toxic and more fun to miss than to actually be around) are powerful and punchy, made all the better by the fact that we actually got to see the tension between Billy and Daisy in the studio recording this song on the show.
Remember how I said from “You Were Gone” on, I’m a fan of every song on the album? It physically pains me to put such a fun, catchy song so low on the list, but unfortunately, AURORA‘s title track can’t quite edge out the rest of the album. Still, the upbeat, percussion-heavy album opener is joyful: Billy’s musical tribute to his wife Camila. Book Billy says it best: “It was called “Aurora” because Camila, he was my Aurora. She was my new dawn, my daybreak, my sun peeking over the horizon.”
6) “Two Against Three”
Where Billy’s solo track didn’t get much mileage for me, Daisy’s heartfelt acoustic solo “Two Against Three” is one of my favorite Aurora entries, made all the more powerful by Keough’s beautiful vocals. Maybe it’s the Presley starpower in her blood, but “Two Against Three” is the kind of song you have to put down whatever you’re doing to listen to, it’s just that lovely. Daisy herself is a character we don’t see voluntarily make herself vulnerable often, so to hear her do so in her music makes an already good song a great one.
5) “Kill You To Try”
Top five, baby! Kicking off the ‘heavy rotation’ part of this list is another track with a bright percussion and a groovy bass lick. Combined with the offset rhythm of Billy’s vocals and some of the strongest lyrics on the album, “Kill You To Try” is a toe-tapper, no doubt about it. Though the track may go on a little too long (if you ask me, it could’ve ended at the 2:30 mark and the second half of the song either cut or made into its own track), “Kill You To Try” still stands out as one of Aurora‘s groovier, ear worm-y entries.
4) “Regret Me”
Blasphemous, I know! “Regret Me” was the first song Amazon Prime Video released ahead of Daisy Jones the series coming out, and it’s also one of very few songs that retained its title from the book-to-series adaption. It’s easy to understand why this is many people’s favorite: That epic guitar riff combined with the scream-singing vocals over the chorus make this an epic rock-inspired track and an in-universe fan favorite. The only downside? The changes to the lyrics from the novel: “I’m beating you to it, dude” doesn’t quite have the same ring as “I hope it ruins rock ‘n’ roll”.
3) “Let Me Down Easy”
Without question, my favorite use of Warren, Karen, and Graham’s instrumentals is on “Let Me Down Easy”, an upbeat, fast-paced track that features some wonderful drums, keys, and guitars. The chorus is also clearly classic Fleetwood Mac-inspired, and Keough/Daisy’s raspy vocals on the chorus and the first verse are particularly great. Boasting some of the most creative production on the album, “Let Me Down Easy” invokes all the right beats of real-life rockers while still paving its own way.
2) “The River”
The sleeper hit of Aurora is without question “The River”—the epic, Daisy-led track which series creator Will Graham cites as his favorite on the album. Despite being neatly tucked away towards the back of the album, it’d be a mistake to skip this one. Graham’s powerful crunchy guitar chords to some of the strongest lyrics on the album, it’s hard not to love “The River”. What really puts this track over the edge, though, is the song’s structure. The bride, verses, and chorus are all strong on their own and differentiate from each other enough that the song never feels repetitive. But it’s Keough’s powerful vocals on the bridge that earns this track such a high spot. She puts her heart in soul into belting those words, and you can’t help but want to scream right along with her.
1) “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)”
Was there ever any doubt? Though it may be corny, it’d be a crime to give the top spot on Aurora to anything other than “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)”, the song that started it all. In the book/show, this is the first song that Daisy and Billy truly write together, initially meant to be a song about Billy’s devotion to and dreams of a better life for Camila, but eventually developing into a complicated, murky song about self-doubt and belief in love. The highs and lows of “Look At Us” now are what make it a classic outside of the world of the series, though—the gentle, guitar-driven first verse flows into a rock classic that’s all-too-believable as a chart-topping single.
(featured image: Amazon Prime Video)
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