Not just another dance album – reviewing Avicii’s “True”

Avicii, rockin' the deep V. photo credit: www.billboard.com

Avicii, rockin’ the deep V.
photo credit: http://www.billboard.com

Electronic Dance Music. Not really my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to dance as much as the next guy (sound of my family’s laughter erupts behind me), but I’ve just never been pulled into the repetitive mmm-tss, mmm-tss nature of EDM. I like my dance music to live more in the pop realm, with lots of hooks and interesting vocals and lyrics.

Enter Avicii.

Avicii is a ridiculously good-looking and young Swedish DJ and dance music producer.  Much has been made in the music media about True, Avicii’s first full length album, being the first ever country-EDM hybrid!  Let’s ease up on that enthusiasm for just a moment. After all, have we already forgotten about the incredibly moving cover of “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex?

But seriously, True is far from a country/dance album.  What it does wonderfully, however, is blend influences from folk and blue-grass to beautifully enhance a few tracks.  This is most effective on the pledge of loyalty that is “Hey Brother”, a bluegrass stomp that should cross-over to a number of formats.  Avicii pulled in Alison Kraus & Union Station vocalist Dan Tyminski for this one, and the result is magic.  “Wake Me Up”, featuring the vocals of soul-singer Aloe Blacc, has a real Mumford vibe going on and is a triumph.  American vocalist Audra Mae channels her inner Adele to great effect on “Addicted to You”.  My current favorite, “Liar Liar”, has a real 60’s Brit-pop vibe.

Despite all this, True is a pop/dance album, clearly.  And a really good one.  But there is plenty of EDM filler along the way, which tends to lose me.  Case in point; the delightful pop song “Dear Boy”.  I actually really like the core of this track.  But it’s eight minute length doesn’t serve it well.  It could easily have been cut in half, which would have made it a better song.  I mean, a guy can only dance so much.  Maybe if I lose a few pounds…

Still, I really dig this album.  Avicii has made something unique in a genre that usually snoozes me out.  He puts an emphasis on vocals and lyrics and song structure that is typically missing in EDM.  This is a great pop album that happens to exist in an EDM universe.  It’s really interesting.  And I think we need more interesting.

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~ by themattmorrisshow on September 20, 2013.

2 Responses to “Not just another dance album – reviewing Avicii’s “True””

  1. brillant song. can’t get it out of my head! 🙂

  2. […] 12.  Avicii – True   I’m not a big EDM guy, but this album is really affecting.  It easily transcends the genre and becomes accessible to fans of rock, pop, hip-hop, and even folk and country.  I wrote more about this album here. […]

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