Avicii's 'True' Breaks All Boundaries With EDM Genre Mash-ups
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 22:09
The song that played over and over on the radio this summer, “Wake Me Up,” might be the first of many hit songs on Avicii’s new album titled True. In this album, the famous house DJ mixes together a handful of singers and different styles of music with his signature twist, making the music more digestible to the popular ear. The majority of the album is an incredible synthesis of electronic dance music (EDM) with other genres, pushing and expanding EDM into the mainstream.
The most obvious departure from typical EDM is when there are no electronic beats or sounds but merely a piano, guitar, and drums. The beginning of “Addicted to You” opens up with the picking of a guitar and Audra Mae’s soulful voice, and is followed by a pop style with back-up vocals and more instruments layering until Avicii finally adds his own touch. The careful production of the album displays Avicii’s unique discretion and versatility.
Avicii’s choice in singers is also vital to the album’s success. Most of the singers are below the radar in popularity as well as diverse in their respective genres. Audra Mae is an American singer-songwriter from Oklahoma that sings folk rock, a far cry from her sound on “Addicted to You” and “Shame on Me.” There are also some international Idol alumni including Lennea Henriksson and Adam Lambert. Henriksson’s raw singing in “Hope There’s Someone” allows for a certain amount of emotion to be conveyed through the music, unlike a lot of EDM in which the songs are merely for dance. Henriksson’s soft singing contrasts with the intense EDM elements, amplifying the sweet simplicity of her voice. At the other end of the emotional spectrum is Lambert’s “Lay Me Down,” a funky, bass-driven tune with guitar licks that are then taken over by the EDM feel. The song falls in line with the electronic and ’70s inspired music that was popular over the summer, such as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure.” Lambert’s voice works well in this song and it’s probably for the best that his quintessential shrieking didn’t make the cut.
Avicii’s conglomeration of different genres is mostly successful, with a few exceptions. “Hey Brother” as a country song by itself could be a great hit, but together with the EDM, it is a little too much of a stretch. The beginning sounds like it could be a Darius Rucker song because of the singer’s southern twang, and then it joins with a dance beat that seems forced. This union just seems too awkward, and the song does not work. Although not the perfect song, it’s not the worst on the album.
The song that most clearly misses the mark is “Heart Upon My Sleeve.” It starts out with pop guitar and piano, but then transitions into an intense section with cellos, making one feel as though the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has hijacked the album. The cellos mixed with the EDM sound like a super-cheesy film soundtrack gone wrong. To have so many interesting combinations on the album, this one in particular falls completely flat and leaves the listener puzzled rather than amazed.
True has the makings of what could be a new world and audience for EDM. Avicii’s production on this album ties together unrelated genres and creates a sound for the mainstream audience as well as his faithful EDM loving fans. Ultimately, Avicii’s risk in melding all of these genres together pays off, with the exception of two songs. His creativity and ingenuity are sure to catapult his career to success, as well as change the music scene.