My first experience with Elhae dates back to his 2016 album, All Have Fallen. I admittedly believed the singer was from Los Angeles as a result of his name but the moniker is actually an acronym the Georgia-bred act put together: Every Life Has An Ending. The phrase may produce a “well, duh” response, but it should be recognized as a reminder that immortality is indeed fiction and that one day, our time on this planet will come to an end. For Elhae, this reminder ticks with the metronome of his love-seeking ballads outputs that he’s spent nearly the past decade delivering to his growing audience.
This brings us to Aura III. The singer’s trademark series has delivered new bodies of work that come with the increased maturity he experiences in his career. Aura presented Elhae as equal parts youthfully confident and reeling from failed relationships while Aura II brought wisdom and a strive for simplicity and straightforwardness to the mix. Aura III expands on its predecessor’s themes, but now more than ever, Elhae is aware of what he truly desires in this romantic world and now that his troubles in paradise have diminished, he now has the energy and clear-sightedness to pursue just that while pushing away what calls for too much compromise.
It’s why “Separated” is one of the strongest songs on the album. Its knocking bass riddles the mind just like the hair-pulling frustrations Elhae experiences with his partner. An ample dose of accountability and patience seem to only delay the inevitable end that the singer has spent so long hoping to avoid. His innate focus on what he feels is best for him drives him to call it quits with the drawn-out relationship, despite his former companion’s hope to try again. “It’s unfortunate you wanna try again, I can’t relate,” he scoffs before declaring, “I think we’re both much better off, separated.”
Such a line is rooted in Elhae’s understanding that lonely solace is far better than trying to stay afloat in the quicksand of inadequate love, even if it presents optimistic moments. Truthfully, Elhae has no reason to put himself through that. The man that brags about the literal and metaphorical diamonds and gold life has presented him on “Fun Fact” and “My City” seems to be in a good enough position to give the world and then some to that special someone. The contributions from Rick Ross and Masego on the respective songs arrive as luxurious co-signs to not only the singer’s lifestyle but his talents as they’ve been underappreciated despite his near-veteran status.
At long last, Elhae stumbles upon someone who checks off all the boxes to his wish list on “In My Corner.” The heartwarming tune clocks the moment the singer realizes his companion is more than a supportive backbone to his life, rather, they’ve grown to be the love of his life. “Girl, let’s make it known,” he begs. “I’ll give you my name and everything that comes with it.” The moment of praise continues with “I Can See.” The bass-driven track is the canvas Elhae uses to paint the beauty of the woman he calls “the one” through his own eyes. Once blinded to love, the singer sees her flawless aura and a promising future with this woman as his own.
If Elhae decided to put a pin in the Aura series, Aura III would be a fitting project to conclude it with. Three projects across nearly six years have seen the singer win and lose rounds in the welterweight battle against love. His last project, 2019’s Trouble In Paradise, ended with farewell goodbye to an exhausting love while Aura III opens the door for a new one that caters to Elhae and his wants. On his 2016 song “Needs,” he declared, “I just need someone that trusts me / I just need someone that does me right.” Five years later, his wish is now a reality. Aura III continues what Elhae has done well for a very long time: paint vivid pictures of the emotional hills and valleys that he charters as he looks for the perfect partner. At least now, he can close a chapter with that now present in his life.
Aura III is out now via Motown Records. Get it here.