BY ERIN SINGLETON
Listening to Avicii’s new album, True, I automatically noticed the deep contrasts of sound that seem to blend into an unknown,melting pot genre. Typically, we associate Avicii with his classic single, “Levels,” that rose to huge success worldwide in 2011. It’s a progressive house song, just like how his other hits “Fade into Darkness” and “Silhouettes” are within the electronic/dance genre as well. However, True seems to break Avicii’s image as a purely house artist.
Various musicians are featured to emphasis this shift, which features folksy and country components mixed with his usual electronic beats and catchy melodies. Such artists include guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers, country musician Mac Davis, Mike Einziger of Incubus, and soul singer Aloe Blacc.
“Wake Me Up,” “Hey Brother,” and “Addicted to You” are examples of his more folksy, bluegrass singles, which provide a strong emphasis on vocals and instruments while still maintaining an electronic foundation. On the other hand, “Shame on Me” and “Lay Me Down” shift towards a funk/soul sound that make you want to do a groovy dance, while the vocals bring you back to a different time and place. Their hip beats, R&B vocals, and smooth tunes color the album with energy and a chilled out vibe.
The last two tracks, “Canyons” and “All You Need is Love,” definitely tie back Avicii’s house roots, sounding more like “Levels” than the other songs on the album, reminding listeners that he is still a European house DJ.
I’ve found many artists tend to blend a fusion of genres within their music. This could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps they listen to a certain kind of music often and want to infuse it into their own music, as Avicii did for his experimental True. Maybe it’s because EDM is a genre that is rising in popularity, so sales might increase if they took on and expanded a new sound. Notable pop and radio artists are more frequently gearing their music toward EDM with bass drops, heavy kick, and snare drums to make their songs more “dance-y” and fun.
In particular, I’ve noticed that some rappers tend to blend electronic elements to their songs as well, perhaps to add a bit of uplift and diversity to their verses. Examples of a few are Sammy Adams (“All Night Longer,” “Only One,” “Big Lights,” “Some Chords – remix,” etc.), Timeflies (combining nearly every song with both rap and pop/dance melodies or beats), and Chiddy Bang (“Opposite of Adults,” “Truth”).
I like the fusion of music genres. Though some types of music are simply not meant to blend whatsoever, (“Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line ft. Nelly, anyone? Ugh, so terrible) I still find it pretty neat that artists are able to team up with other musicians or sounds to bring in variety and appeal to larger audiences, whether its to change up and freshen their music or merely increase sales.
Image courtesy of avicii.com