When “Wake Me Up” kicks off the first full-length album TRUE (2013) from Swedish DJ Avicii (Tim Bergling), you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled on a Mumford & Sons record. Propulsive acoustic guitars and folky vocals do not often an EDM hit make. By about a minute-and-a-half, however, when the beat drops, you’re in for one of 2013’s most surprising hits.
TRUE is full of such surprising moments, as Avicii builds these tracks around more traditional song structures from a myriad of genres. “Hey Brother” continues the Mumford-meets-EDM sound; “Lay Me Down” uses disco as its groundwork; “Shame On Me” brings to mind classic swing a la Brian Setzer & the Stray Cats; “Addicted to You” echoes Adele. That’s only how they start, however; when Bergling’s soaring synth leads take over, we’re launched headlong into gloriously tuneful electro house. TRUE plays almost like an album of killer remixes, except that these dozen songs are all originals.
On its own, each track is a real treat. When you listen to the album as a whole, things get a touch repetitive. Not due to a lack of stylistic diversity, certainly, or to a lack of dancefloor hooks. Perhaps it’s the fact that, once you understand Avicii’s M.O. here, you have a solid sense of where each subsequent track is headed (structurally at least), a sense that’s only challenged when the instrumentals “Heart Upon My Sleeve” and “Canyons” appear toward the end of the record. Or perhaps it’s the fact that, despite each song’s uniqueness, they’re all built around the same ~125 bpm house beat.
However, this need not be a criticism if you understand Avicii’s context. I find that EDM doesn’t always lend itself to full albums that you sit down and listen to intently all the way through. These are songs for dancing, for dropping into a DJ’s playlist. And in that context, they’re a TRUE breath of fresh air.
- Get the Look: Avicii “Wake Me Up” (thelookonless.wordpress.com)
- Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” by Aloe Blacc Supports Immigration Reform (wendycarillo.wordpress.com)
- Avicii: True (gwradiomusic.wordpress.com)
- Avicii wins Best EDM Artist at the AMAs (djslipper.wordpress.com)