[numblock num=”9″ style=”3″]Groundbreaking, bold, and emotionally raw, True delivers on the promise of Wake Me Up as a heartfelt venture into country-house never before attempted. With this album, Avicii sets himself apart as a successful big room artist willing to evolve past the style that made him famous, collaborating with a score of talented vocalists and songwriters across all genres. A must-listen.[/numblock]
The hype preceding Avicii’s Week 2 set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami was palpable. We were told he’d be dropping never-before-heard music from his upcoming album and expectations were mixed. On one hand, Tim Bergling was the man who brought us Levels, a track that’s been played and overplayed to the point of exhaustion. People at shows still yell “PLAY LEVELS” like they’re at Lynyrd Skynyrd waiting to hear “Freebird,” as Bergling’s come to be defined by thousands of people singing the iconic Etta James sample, “Ohhhh woaaahhhh, sometimes, I get a good feeling!”
When he took the stage at Ultra with the promise of new music, Avicii stunned the world. Backed up by live instruments, vocals, and even some kazoo, he began an evolution not often seen in the big room community. After weeks of criticism from fans, he released Wake Me Up as a single and quickly became the proud owner of the most listened-to song in the world, officially putting any doubts to rest. As it spread across the globe, the single connected with people as an anthem in self-discovery that defines True as an album.
[quote style=”1″ author=”Wake Me Up”]So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older, all this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost.[/quote]
True is more than just a compilation of pleasant-sounding music. Rather, it’s Avicii taking a gigantic risk while showing the world he’s willing to put himself out there in the name of creating something special. With tracks like Hey Brother, we see that vulnerability firsthand as country vocalist Dan Tyminski croons “What if I’m far from home? Oh brother I will hear you call. What if I lose it all? Oh sister I will help you out.”
Collectively the album sways back and forth in theme, as it paints a picture of an artist unsure of how his venture outside his typical fare will be received. Interspersed among this soulful uncertainty is an electro love story, brought to us by tracks like Addicted To You, Lay Me Down, and Dear Boy.
This all culminates in one of the final tracks on the album, Heart Upon My Sleeve, combining the themes of exposing yourself for love and art, in the form of an impassioned musical plea for acceptance from Imagine Dragons leader singer Dan Reynolds. Through his collaborations with talented songwriters and vocalists, Bergling’s created an album with simple yet stirring poetry that brings a giant of the EDM world down to eye-level with his audience.
[quote style=”1″ author=”Tim Berg (Avicii)”]I’m not doing it for dance music or to try and change where dance music is going, I’m just doing it for myself – to showcase my own taste in music. I want to see what I’m capable of.[/quote]
When you gather as much fame and notoriety as someone like Avicii, it becomes easy to start making music for everyone but yourself; fame has a way of making many artists lose sight of why they began creating music in the first place. Not content with this, he’s managed to find that difficult balance between music that’s easy to listen to, while still crossing over genre boundaries in a unique way.
At its core, True paints a picture of a man doing everything he can to break outside of the typical “build-drop-dance” structure that’s become the gold standard of big room music. We have ourselves an album that stands alone in the house world as an unprecedented effort as well as an exercise in breaking out of your comfort zone. Facing down a hostile crowd at Ultra back in May probably wasn’t easy, but with his new release Avicii is building a reputation as an innovator who can do so much more than just Levels.
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