Over the weekend, Swedish EDM artist Avicii died at the age of 28. This is of course sad because of how young he was, but for me, it was a bummer because he was one of the few electronic artists who made music I actually liked. His incorporation of folk, country and rock into his style of music was a breath of fresh air from the colder, repetitive, drawn-out electronic music one would normally hear blaring from the Coachella dance tent.
“Wake Me Up” was a perfect and deserving smash. Soulful vocals from Aloe Blacc, a country/folk rhythm, and dance breakdowns blended seamlessly to create a party song with heart. The even more countrified “Hey Brother” continued the trend of showing how two very opposing worlds of music could collide with surprisingly great ease.
After learning of his death, I started listening to his more recent album Stories, which gained early notice for having a number of rock collaborations. While some of those didn’t make the final cut (tracks with Jon Bon Jovi and Billie Joe Armstrong are noticeably absent, though demos have leaked online), there were still a number of excellent songs on the album. From the folky “Trouble” to the Gavin DeGraw sung pop rock of “Sunset Jesus”, to the strong reggae collab “Can’t Catch Me” (feat. Matisyahu and Wyclef Jean) – the album put Avicii‘s versatility on full display.
Take a listen to the album below, and raise a glow stick in the man’s honor.