DJ/ Producer Avicii reached international fame with his highly addictive song, Levels, back in 2011. He followed up with two more progressive house tunes, Silhouettes and I Could Be the One, that both topped charts in multiple countries. So why then, would he trail away from what both jumpstarted and helped him maintain a highly successful career?
Avicii told Billboard magazine that the “Electronic dance music scene is half-stuck” and that “disruption is good” when a genre enters that stage. His new album True, officially released on September 13th, evades the typical progressive house music sound and instead, delightfully incorporates country, blue grass and disco elements to form a time-warped clash of musical expertise. Avicii worked with an all-star roster of songwriters and vocalists, including Aloe Blacc, Swedish artist Salem Al Fakir, Nile Rodgers, Mike Einzinger of Incubus and Adam Lambert.
While I listened to the album, at times I wanted to square dance. During other songs I sat and enjoyed what seemed to be an unplugged acoustic session of a rock & roll band. But the most impressive thing about True, is the recurring Avicii elements. He is truly a melodic genius, and never fails to make one sing along to his euphoric leads. In True’s case, they pair up perfectly with the vocalists he chose to work with.
Choosing Wake Me Up as the first track and single from the record was a smart move from Avicii. It allows fans to become familiar with the direction of the album, while enjoying a light-hearted sing-along. Aloe Blacc truly shines on this tune while Avicii’s accompanying melodic synth acts as a harmonic vocalist. The second track You Make Me wastes no time as it dives right into a punchy piano chord progression with choppy demanding vocals. The break introduces some beautiful tension with Fakir’s vulnerable falsettos over a dark and funky backing track.
Hey Brother and Addicted to You both begin with soft acoustic finger picking. These songs introduce the clash of blue grass with four-on-the floor kicks. They both incorporate eerie vocals with a bit of remorse. A touch of tambourine is a nice addition to a pair of soulful songs.
Dear Boy is one of the most electronically influenced tracks, with elements incorporated from all over the electronic spectrum. It begins with a minimal tech intro that gradually leads into euphoric progressive vocals. The drop holds dutch elements, and features head-banging break beats under a less accentuated synth lead.
Liar Liar is a genius record in regards to lyrical content, especially because of the way it is highlighted through an impressive duet. Soft and manipulative female vocals attempt to distort perception. The Male lead then belches out “Liar Liar” in response, refusing to fall for another maiden.
Shame on Me begins with jazzy drums, and similar to Lay Me Down incorporates disco-funk guitar riffs thanks to Mr. Nile Rodgers.
True is a breath of fresh air for the electronic dance music scene. So please: inhale, exhale, and repeat.