This Thursday, June 7th, marked the release of Avicii‘s highly anticipated posthumous album, simply entitled TIM. After taking his own life at the young age of just 28, the Swedish DJ and producer left behind his gift to his fans a collection of his ultimately unfinished tracks.
Gathering together those who have previously worked with him intensely, this album brings together chosen talented group of producers who have attempted to do their best at finishing 12 of his songs in his irreplaceable memory.
Featuring vocals from Chris Martin, Aloe Blacc and Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds, the eclectic collection of the late Swede’s creations is a bittersweet and insanely emotional listen for his adoring fans across the world.
Avicii’s posthumous album begins with with an acoustic heavy track, Peace Of Mind, that features Vargas & Lagola—the collaborators behind the huge hits Without You, Silhouettes, and Hey Brother. As the lead single off TIM, Peace Of Mind instantly invokes a message to the environment that ultimately did lead Bergling to his heartbreaking suicide:
“Dear society // You are moving way too fast // Way too fast for me // I’m just trying to catch my breath.”
With lyrics that continuously imply a need for peace of mind in the midst of the chaos of social media, the into to this song points a flashlight at the dark side of becoming a superstar DJ.
After getting to a better peace of mind, TIM glides into what is really the pinnacle of perfection on this album and one of the more emotional tracks which is rather serendipitous as the song itself is entitled Heaven.
This song, who’s title is actually the antonym of his stage name, showcases a central theme of traveling from Hell to Heaven, a main focus of the project through. Ultimately, it places a general feeling of eeriness towards this album, feeling as though it foreshadows the way Tim’s life eventually unfolded.
Written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, his larger than life voice accompanied with twinkling synths and bubbly piano melody, Heaven evokes visions of where Tim could be now in his own forever happy place.
For fans, the hardest part to swallow while listening to this posthumous album is that it is a beautiful and moving composition, from an artist crying out for help, who clearly was at the top of his game.
With other diverse symphonies incorporated into this album, ranging from entrancing Indian influences (Tough Love), vibe-centered hip-hop and glam (Excuse Me Mr. Sir), and exploratory tropical vibes (Bad Reputation), this album successfully marries multiple musical genres and tastes.
Exploring further into the album, you stumble upon Freak, which was a project interpolating Sam Smith’s Stay with Me. This song’s lyrics explore flashes of fear, anger, and depression of someone who tries to hide “the scars within” and “never wanted to die young.” Suffice it to say, it’s just another gut-punch in Avicii’s catalog that hints at his inner demons.
TIM is really the culmination of Avicii’s song-based charisma that has always incorporated elements outside of the EDM realm. There is never any intention of rushing any of his songs or melodies unlike other artists, and anyone waiting for that “big drop” moment should check themselves. He lets each and breathe and grow, and despite feeling unfinished with most of the tracks being under three minutes, everything feels organic and natural.
Lyrically, it’s clearly obvious that finding the darkness within this album doesn’t take much dissection — it’s there. Lines like “Can I get a little peace?”, “Down upon my knees,” and “I still feel broken,” are words that scream out in anguish, and force us to come face to face with the graveness of mental illness, and how it affects really the world — and music community — today.
However, TIM does hint at glimpses of optimism in its tone. ”
All the breath in your lungs/Is stronger than the tears in your eyes,” the lyrics go, on Hold the Line. And despite fighting with a lover in Tough Love, it concludes: “There’s no place I’d rather be than in your arms.”
Even SOS — which features the reunion of Avicii with Aloe Blacc, who sang on 2013 hit Wake Me Up — has an overwhelming theme of hope:
“I can feel your love pulling me up from the underground.”
There is the power of love all over TIM. Let that be his forever legacy. This posthumous release knowingly preaches to the already converted, but it ultimately honors his family’s wish to keep the late DJ’s EDM legacy alive.
The decision to release Avicii’s final melodies was one made by his parents, donating 100% of the proceeds to the Tim Bergling Foundation, whose goal is to help people who also have struggles related to mental illness.
Bergling and his iconic music will always be a bright light in a dark place, and from his darkness, his final project only brings others out of the darkness and into the light with him.
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