‘TIM’ brings Avicii’s melodies to light, from his darkness within [REVIEW]
Avicii will always be remembered for his infectious melodies and festival anthems such as “Levels,” “Fade Into Darkness,” “Silhouettes,” “Wake Me Up,” “Hey Brother,” “I Could Be The One” with Nicky Romero, “Without You,” “Waiting For Love,” and Coldplay‘s “A Sky Full of Stars,” among many more. His posthumous album, TIM, is an ode to his keen ear for note sequencing.
The release of “Levels” instantly made him a powerful force within the electronic community. Vocal anthems like “Fade Into Darkness” and “Silhouettes” further cemented Avicii’s status the glistening wunderkid of EDM, and eventually, his discography became so ubiquitous that even older generations began recognizing his sound. Over the years, however, his astronomical success became his worst enemy.
TIM evokes the the past artist’s verity in melody, style, and genre, containing carefully selected, unfinished harmonies from collaborators who where close with him. It’s nice to get one last piece of creation that came from his sessions, even though the album was reportedly just 80% done at his passing. Footprints of his greatness are audible within, and that counts for anyone whose lives were impacted by the impermeable cheer he brought to so many.
Avicii’s posthumous album begins with an acoustically led track, “Peace Of Mind” that features Vargas & Lagola—the collaborators behind the huge hits “Without You,” “Silhouettes,” and “Hey Brother.” The Swedish duo and friends of the deceased took feature roles in three tracks off the long play, including the already released “Tough Love” featuring Agnes that features a melody Avicii showed producers Pontare and Al Fakir after studying the music of northwest India, as he was reaching for melodies beyond his current repertoire.
As the lead single off TIM, “Peace Of Mind” invokes a message to the environment that eventually led Bergling to his unfortunate suicide: “Dear society // You are moving way too fast // Way too fast for me // I’m just trying to catch my breath.” The lyrics continue to imply a peace of mind from the chaos of social media in an intro that wistfully sheds light on the dark side of becoming a superstar DJ.
After reaching his peace of mind, TIM reaches the pearly gates. “Heaven” the antonym of his stage name and one of the more emotional tracks on the album. It showcases the central theme of Hell to Heaven throughout the project—Avicii wanted to create an album with the precise theme—eerily foreshadowing events to come. “Heaven” was co-written with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and their session began back in 2014 with the song getting festival play in 2015. With Martin’s larger than life voice along with twinkling synths and cheery piano melody, “Heaven” sounds like a cheerful slice of where Bergling could be.
“SOS” featuring Aloe Blacc was the first singles released prior to the LP, highlighting the Grammy-nominated hitmaker’s ability to work with the industries strongest voices.
“Bad Reputation” features Joe Janiak who co-wrote four of the tracks off the project and sang on two of them. This track hits on a hybrid Arabic and blues melody inspired by Avicii’s love for world music and finished by fellow collaborator Carl Falk who co-wrote “Without You.” The track brings an overall island sound to the melodically eclectic project, utilizing mallets and Janiak’s carefree cadence.
“Ain’t A Thing” is another song finished by Carl Falk and features the sultry vocals of Bonn along with the similar mallet sound as “Bad Reputation” and “SOS” with more of a soulful bounce that drives the narrative from melancholy to uplifting.
Bonn also offers his vocals on “Freak,” with continues the theme of dark to light that dives into a carefree whistle known as the Sukiyaki melody, a Japanese song from the 1950s, continuing the listeners’ travels around the globe throughout the long play.
Avicii fell in love with the rhythmic vocals of A R I Z O N A with Co-producer Lucas von Bahder and “Hold The Line” began to sprout. The melody has a brass hook that gives a different weight to Avicii’s sad lyrics with happy song style.
“Excuse Me Mr Sir” is the third Vargas & Lagola feature with their signature acoustic element lead that we’ve fallen in love with through their collaborations with Avicii. Continuing the test the waters of variety, this track combines elements of rap and rock with a 12-string guitar playing a major role.
“Heart Upon My Sleeve” features the Grammy-award winning Imagine Dragons and is one of the more emotional songs on the album due to Dan Reynolds stadium vocals that scream alongside Avicii’s delicate piano parts. Orchestral violin build and drop that give off a an angry, haunting, and energetic atmosphere alongside the vibrant verses giving a cocktail of emotions. We’re even introduced to dubstep gargles towards the end of the track.
“Never Leave Me” is Joe Janiak’s second feature as a vocalists as he floats atop glistening piano and dives into retro synths that add a warm sensation next to the vox. The chord progression is so cheerful on this one again pairing with saddened lyrics for that signature Bergling blend of distressed hope.
“Fades Away” is an emotional finish because Avicii was inspired by the lyric “don’t you love it how it all just fades away” while the lyrics “I can’t go back” repeats and swans into orchestral, cinematic violins. The ending of the song highlights only Avicii’s piano below Noonie Bao’s vocals, while the melody fades away and the vocals are left without a harmony in a graceful fade into darkness.
TIM highlighted melodies from all over the world, and everything Avicii and his friends were working toward when creating music became inspirational again after his break from touring. Bringing Avicii’s final melodies to the public was a decision made by his parents, donating 100% of the proceeds to the Tim Bergling Foundation that aims to help people struggling with mental illness. Bergling was a bright light in a dark place, and from his darkness, his final project looks to bring everyone else out of the shadows with him.