Avicii’s True, and the end of an EDM era

Tuesday, August 07, 2018, 11:21 AM EDT

avicii folktronica progressive-house

  • Name: True
  • Artist: Avicii
  • Year: 2013
  • Label: PRMD
  • Genre: Progressive house, folktronica
  • Length: 48:37

Album Review: True by Avicii

True was Avicii’s first studio album, and it’s awesome because it mixes electronic dance sounds (mostly progressive house) with influences from genres like bluegrass and country in a very nontrivial way. (His later work starts to incorporate reggae, hip hop, you name it. It’s great.) The result is a really refreshing and positive take on dance music; it’s danceable but also resonates really deeply. Avicii’s music is wonderful because of the youthfulness and joie de vivre he somehow packs into even his more mellow songs. Every Avicii track sounds genuine.

You might remember hits like “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother,” which hit #4 and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively; they both serve as good examples of how the cross-genre appeal of Avicii’s sound allowed him to produce chart- climbing tracks that are still based squarely in EDM, and progressive house in particular — unlike many other artists who simply adapted elements of EDM into more mainstream pop styles.

The less “mainstream” tracks on this album deserve a shout-out, too. “You Make Me” is amazingly bubbly and playful; the voice is so high it’s almost silly, and the track is just all-around feel good. “Shame On Me” has one of the most technically intricate and compelling drops I’ve ever heard, and somehow it achieves that while being an electronic bluegrass song; “Dear Boy” is interestingly dubsteppy; “Heart On My Sleeve” is fully instrumental and sounds both like Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack and a gorgeous, sentimental country song; and “All You Need Is Love” (which is only a bonus track on the album’s Japanese edition) is one of the single most exuberant dance songs I’ve ever heard.

Also, while we’re on the topic, I’d like to recommend listening to some of the other great Avicii singles from around True’s period and earlier, like “Seek Bromance,” “I Could Be The One,”” “My Feelings For You” (which makes epic use of vocal samples from Cassius’ 1999 “Feelings for You), and of course, the unstoppable progressive house masterpiece “Levels.”

On a personal note, Avicii recently committed suicide; he was only 28, and it was really tragic, not only for the dance community as a whole, which lost a visionary DJ, but for many individuals like me and many of my close friends in high school, for whom Avicii’s music was an enduring positive influence. We can only hope that future generations of producers carry on his legacy of crafting inspiring and feel-good dance music.

Listen to True

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