Avicii's 'True': What the Critics Are Saying
DJ Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii -- whose 2011 single "Levels" was an international phenomenon -- continues to push the boundaries of EDM in his debut album, True, out Tuesday, Sept. 17.
In True, the spinner from Stockholm crosses genres as disparate as bluegrass and house to bring audiences new beats that are as unique as they are danceable. True features the hit track "Wake Me Up!" which rose to the No. 5 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 list. Avicii teamed up with a diverse crowd of popular artists including Adam Lambert and Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds to produce an album with wide-ranging appeal.
Before Avicii's international breakthrough, he was just a 20-year-old Swede with a synthesizer, producing tracks his home. Now, with an enormous following and a fresh album, Avicii has become a face for musical innovation within the EDM community.
The atmosphere surrounding Avicii is electric and critics are abuzz:
Billboard's Kerri Mason points to the nuances in Avicii's style as the markers of his appeal. "Instead of pop stars dialing in towlines over prefab beats, [True is] based on musicians writing songs, together in a room," Mason writes. "That small distinctions, that kernel of truth, could be what catapults Avicii from superstar DJ to flat-out superstar."
The decision to step outside of the mainstream serves as a testament to the artist's dedication to creative authenticity. True accomplishes this in several ways, the most notable of which involves cross-genre integration. "The Swede's debut album picks up on this Mumford & Synths sound for a set of folk, soul and addictive house beats," Rolling Stone's Caryn Ganz describes. "All of this proves that Avicii's new sound is much more than a page from Moby's Play book."
Vibe's Sarah Polonsky does an excellent job of capturing the critical response to Avicii's release, describing True as "a 10-track game of genre Double Dutch." She adds: "Somehow, Bergling doesn't slip up in the ropes."
Whether it's the diversity of influence in True or the established EDM emphasis that draws you, there is something for almost everybody to like. As Melinda Newman explains in her HitFix review, "[Avicii] wants to make you move, but he also wants to make you feel something." She admits that the album may miss the mark for some "purists," but argues that the album invites everybody to join the party, "even if we never step foot in a club."