Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, unfortunately passed on April 20th 2018. The gap he left in the dance music and the music industry as a whole will never be filled. Tim was a visionary, an artist not afraid to experiment and push the boundaries. His 2013 Ultra set was originally criticized for premiering his new album and its heavy country influence, that took courage from him and it definitely paid off.
There is no other dance music act who has broken into the global commercial scene like Avicii has and he was the reason many became enchanted with modern electronic music. The success never changed him. He was always a down to earth humble human who had a passion for making incredible music, always his priority.
Thanks to his family and team, we now get to experience ‘TIM’, a posthumous album featuring 12 tracks. The album was collaborated on and finalized after his passing by his good friends Carl Falk, Lucas von Bahder, Albin Nedler, Kristoffer Fogelmark, Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare. They worked to finish the album in a manner that they all felt resembled Tim, as well as making him proud. Having to work on music that you made with your good friend after they passed would not be easy. Many of them revealed they couldn’t even open the projects for more than 6 months. The artists involved in the completion of this album need to be commended for their work in bringing Avicii’s music to a point of release.
Peace of Mind (feat. Vargas & Lagola)
The first track of the album doesn’t sound like your typical Avicii record, with swinging vocals and a catchy guitar pluck. It breaks into mix of strong guitar and vocals with a prominent chorus. Avicii’s signature violin sounds are however clearly evident throughout production – whilst it doesn’t sound 100% Tim Berg, his presence is felt. Vargas & Lagola mentioned Avicii was very heavily involved in the lyrics, citing a message to society. They also mentioned The Red Hot Chilli Peppers as an inspiration for parts of the song.
Heaven (feat. Chris Martin)
Arguably the most emotional track of the album and one of the ones fans were hungry to hear officially, Coldplay’s Chris Martin does an excellent job of transcribing Tim’s lyrics into song. The end result is an incredibly emotive production focusing on dying and going to heaven. With lyrics such as “I think I just died…. and went to heaven“, tying this to Avicii’s passing makes it even more heartbreaking. This track was in the works for a long time and may be the most anticipated from this posthumous album.
SOS (feat. Aloe Blacc)
The first single of the album, released in April – boasts an incredible 180+ million streams on Spotify. Featuring good friend Aloe Blacc, SOS was an excellent record to break the silence musically and announce the album. SOS is a heartbreaking call for help, whether that was from Tim or not we’ll never know. The emotional aspect of the track is pushed further with Aloe Blacc’s powerful vocals.
Tough Love (feat. Agnes, Vargas & Lagola)
‘Tough Love’ is built around powerful and catchy vocal and features a distinct Arabic-esque lead violin sound, its something different yet you can feel his distinct melodic input and production. It’s no doubt he was looking to shake things up on this track much how he’d surprised the world with ‘True’.
Bad Reputation (feat. Joe Janiak)
This one really leans on its excellent melody and strong vocals from Joe Janiak. Avicii aimed for an African vibe on this record and that shines through, with hints of Arabic sounds and blues. Once again, Carl Falk took the helms on this production, as it was one of the bare bones projects that Tim left, Carl had less references to work with.
Ain’t A Thing (feat. Bonn)
With slow piano and strong vocals from frequent collaborator Bonn, this a highlight in the album. Featuring a twist on Avicii’s signature sound on the drop, ‘Ain’t A Thing‘ embraces a mix of his old and new styles. Co-songwriter and co-producer Carl Falk mentioned that this record specifically motivated Tim to produce the album and assisted him to re-invent himself musically. It was the first time in many years that Tim enjoyed making music.
Hold The Line (feat. A R I Z O N A)
Depending how you interpret the lyrics, this is a dark song. After A R I Z O N A sent the demo to Avicii, he jumped on it with old friend Lucas von Bahder. They created a simple yet satisfying production that really speaks with the vocals. Tim always wanted to have sad vocals with a happy instrumental – he achieved that here.
Freak (feat. Bonn)
Originally called ‘Denial‘, this record took inspiration from the melody from ‘Sukiyaki‘. The production then puts the majority of focus onto the excellent melody and tops it with Bonn’s powerful vocals. Tim’s presence can be felt throughout the entirety of ‘Freak‘. The track is about being in a dark place and rising from that, what occurred to Tim a few years before his death.
Excuse Me Mr Sir (feat. Vargas & Lagola)
This was a turning point for Tim on the album, this helped him through writers block. This production had an experimental element for Tim and Vargas & Lagola. As you can tell from the sounds in the drop, it’s not your average track. Tim was always the out of the box producer, that shines through on this beautiful song.
Heart Upon My Sleeve (feat. Imagine Dragons)
The aggressive yet harmonic strings really separate this track from the rest. This really sounds like something from a 2012 Avicii and the lyrics and polish from a 2018 Avicii, something that many would describe as the best Avicii. In a session set up by Neil Jacobson from Geffen, Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds and Avicii came together for the track that is ‘Heart Upon My Sleeve‘, from the title alone you can determine what this track brings. The powerful lyrics are a testament to Tim as a person.
Never Leave Me (feat. Joe Janiak)
Beginning to wind up the emotional album, ‘Never Leave Me’ was made in collaboration with Albin Nedler and Kristoffer Fogelmark and they reveal it was one of the final songs Tim worked on in LA before he left for the fateful trip to Oman. It opens with an iconic piano and Joe Janiak’s soulful voice, then progressing into a wavy synth which reminisce of signature Avicii melodies we know and love. The track is Joe Janiak’s second feature on the album and in all this one is our favourite of the two because it feels like a traditional Avicii production.
Fades Away (feat. Noonie Bao)
Selecting the track to round out this album would have been a difficult choice for all involved, and we can’t help but feel the raw emotion that Noonie Bao exudes through lyrics such as “All I Know With You, I’m Holding On”. Featuring a symphony of sounds this is another genre bending production which features a driving drumline and built around stripped down progressive melodies.
We remember Avicii on this day, and every other day. His timeless productions will be just that, timeless and never forgotten.
Tim Berling / Avicii
1989 – Forever