Avicii – Heaven

“It’s officially seen the light of day, which is nice.”

Tim: The album TIM is out today, with a number of interesting featured signers on there. Also interesting, to music nerds like us at least, is the crediting – almost all of them are ‘Avicii feat.’, though there are two exceptions. One’s credited to Avicii & Imagine Dragons equally, a fairly bizarre track that I really don’t think works at all; another, as in this one, has no credited vocalist at all. Even though the vocalist is Chris Martin.

Tom: And it’s Chris Martin going full Chris Martin, too. Interesting choice of title and lyric for a posthumous release, too.

Tim: It was recorded back in 2014 when they worked together on A Sky Full Of Stars (which in turn didn’t have Avicii as an official featured artist, maybe it was a reciprocal arrangement), and has been played in various live sets since, but now it’s officially seen the light of day, which is nice.

Tom: It sounds like an Avicii song from a few years ago, even down to the build in the middle — and the length, which is much more than you’d expect from a track in the streaming era.

Tim: It’s the most typical Avicii song of any of the pre-released tracks, and it’s nice. That repeating melody, the opening twinkly bit, the lovely sentiment of the lyrics, and the general feeling throughout it – just really, really nice, and particularly with those lyrics it may be my favourite of the recent releases.

Tom: Agreed. Although somehow it seems a little hollow: this is very much a posthumous release finished by others.

Tim: I miss him, you know. I know we’ve had a lot of new stuff from his hard drive recently, but it’s not quite the same, really. Not the same at all.

Avicii feat. Agnes & Vargas & Lagola – Tough Love

“Ah, a Eurovision entrant.”

Tim: Second single from the upcoming album (which, I’ve since found out, is getting the profits donated to a mental health organisation, so it’s not icky after all).

Tom: They didn’t really get off to a flying start with the first single, so I’ve not got high hopes.

Tim: Piano dance is so ten years ago, country guitar so five years ago, so right now we’ve got, well, this.

Tom: Ah, a Eurovision entrant. Specifically, the type that uses some traditional instrument and scale for one bit while otherwise adhering to European pop norms.

Tim: It is a bit odd, isn’t it? Well, to most Western European ears at least. Took me a few listens to enjoy this, for that and also the same reason Wake Me Up took a bit of getting used to: it’s just so different, and so initially janky from one style to the next, that it seems almost irritating. After a couple of times, though, it kind of works a bit, in the way that I at least appreciate both bits individually, and am more or less okay with them being mixed up, I guess?

Tom: There are some really inspired parts in here. Okay, there’s one really inspired part in here, and it’s one chord progression in the middle eight. Maybe I would learn to love it, but I just don’t think I’m going to give it that chance.

Tim: Reading that back it comes across quite harsh, but I do enjoy it. Kind of.

Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc – SOS

“Wouldn’t you want the first one out to be absolutely brilliant?”

Tim: So, slightly odd situation here. Apparently when Avicii died last year, he had about an album’s worth of material on his computer ready to go, and now it seems his family reckons enough time has passed for it to be released without it seeming too ethically dubious.

Tom: Actually ready to go, or works-in-progress that have been picked up by other people? Because if they’re not spectacular, it’s going to seem like an ethically dubious cash-in no matter what. A whole album, then?

Tim: That’s out at the end of June, here’s the lead track.

Tim: And that is, I guess, a perfectly decent Avicii track.

Tom: Apart from the middle eight where it suddenly becomes a mashup of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and TLC’s “No Scrubs”. And ‘perfectly’ decent? It’s… well, it’s okay.

Tim: Well, not perfectly decent – for starters, the D on the end of ‘pound of weed’ really should be pronounced more forcefully than it is.

Tom: Oh dear. Yes, it should.

Tim: And that’s kind of my issue. See, if you were part of his friends and family, and you were sitting on a load of good stuff that could have the potential to backfire, wouldn’t you want the first one out to be absolutely brilliant? A ten out of ten, everyone drop what you’re doing, can’t stop dancing type number? And this…well, it’s good. But it’s not that.

Avicii feat. Vargas & Lagola – Friend Of Mine

“Well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster.”

Tim: Ooh, them off Melodifestivalen last year! What are they doing with Avicii?

Tom: Advance warning: this is a video somewhere between ’emotional’ and ‘heartbreaking’. I recommend listening to the song on its own first, because I don’t think you’ll be able to consider it properly otherwise.

Tim: Hmm. Short but sweet.

Tom: So, without that video — well, it’s an Avicii track, isn’t it? There’s not much going on there we haven’t heard before, although that doesn’t mean it’s actually bad. He may have retired from touring, but he’s still happy to chuck out perfectly reasonable farm-house tracks like this.

Tim: “Perfectly reasonable” is a very good way to describe this – nothing new or particularly inventive, but it’ll do. Now, give me a moment to watch that video.

Oh. Oh, well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster, blimey.

Tom: How on earth a video like this got suggested and approved, I’ve no idea, but I’m glad it was.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah, it’s…well, not sure really, but yeah.

Avicii feat. Rita Ora – Lonely Together

“Did you ever have any of those Disney singalong videos back when you were a kid?”

Tim: Did you ever have any of those Disney singalong videos back when you were a kid? With the lyrics of the songs on screen and Mickey Mouse’s head bouncing along the top to give you the timing?

Tom: I didn’t, but I have a distinct memory of them all the same, which tells you just how much reach Disney have.

Tim: Well, that’s what this lyric video reminds me of.

Tom: And they haven’t learned what Disney, and every other decent karaoke-maker, has learned: that the bouncing ball should anticipate the lyrics slightly, and the next line should always appear a couple of beats early. If it appears right on the beat, no-one’s going to be able to read it in time. Grumble.

Tim: Grumble grumble grumble. I do wonder sometimes about the point of lyric videos – sure, they’re nicer and more fun than just a flat image of the song’s artwork, and I’ll never turn down a well produced one, but often they’re a bit shit, so why not just do the video before you release the track? I have no idea whatsoever about production costs, but I can’t help feeling that there are better uses for record label cash – hell, take off the lyrics and this’d work fine as a standard video.

Tom: If they don’t do it, someone else will. Two videos is better than one, apparently.

Tim: OH WELL NEVER MIND, let’s do the song. It’s another one off his comeback EP, and JOY OF JOYS we’re back to vaguely approaching the standard pop song structure, with a varied final chorus in there – admittedly we’re still lacking a middle eight, but at this point I’ll take anything I can get.

Tom: Bit generic, though, isn’t it? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t seem to possess anything above the generic sort of middle-of-the-road it’ll-do-stuff that Spotify might chuck out in the middle of a playlist.

Tim: Tad generic, perhaps, and I guess we can say what we said last week: he makes good dance music, that I’m happy pressing play on a bunch of times. Rita’s bringing the good stuff with the vocals, and it all just works. Lovely.

Avicii feat. Sandro Cavazza – Without You

“Who’d have thought it?”

Tim: Avicii’s back! Here’s the first one after his hiatus, the lead off a six track EP, with Sandro from Sweden on vocals. Fun fact: listed as one of the co-writers is one Dhani Lennevald, previously best known as a member of ABBA tribute group A*Teens. Who’d have thought it?

Tom: …I don’t think anyone would have thought it, Tim.

Tim: Is it just me, or is there quite a lot of All About Tonight in there? Weird thing is, comparing them it’s not actually the same, but it really struck me when I first pressed play, and now I really want to sing “and it’s all about tonight” when the pause comes after every chorus line. You get anything?

Tom: I got “The Nights” off the intro, although — again — it’s really not the same track. I think we may well have stumbled across one of the reasons that Avicii’s so popular: we all recognised something good in here, and in my case, even recognised something else of his own.

He makes good, memorable dance music.

Tim: In any case, it’s a decent track to come out with – a disappointing step further along the path towards ‘no middle eight in dance tunes’ becoming a Proper Thing, but otherwise perfectly good. Well, I say perfectly, I wouldn’t mind a remix to change the chorus from being quite so stop-start all the time. Other than those two issues, though: fine.

Avicii – Waiting For Love

“There’s a typo in the SECOND WORD. How, please?”

Tim: Avicii brought farmhouse music to the world; Avicii will now take it away, because he is done with it.

Tom: Really? See, this is still to his formula: introduction on a traditional instrument, guest vocalist who gets no credit at all, and only an intermittent bit that’s actually danceable.

Tim: Now, we could talk about the music, but it’s basically standard Avicii going back to before he discovered the countryside, perfectly serviceable stuff and there’s not much else to say really.

Tom: Other than that main melody is bloody close to the chorus of Toca’s Miracle? Let’s gloss over that.

Tim: So let’s discuss that video. First, despite the clearly MASSIVE amount of effort that’s been put into that, there’s a typo in the SECOND WORD. How, please?

Tim: Oof, blimey. But secondly, and mostly, it makes the music seem like a soundtrack. But so what? Most people just hear the track? NO. YouTube’s a VERY big player in the streaming industry and the way a lot of people consume music, and watching this feels a bit like watching Steamboat Willie or some such.

Tom: You say that, but I reckon they have it on in a background tab, or gaze at the comments instead unless there’s a spectacular video. And what’s wrong with Steamboat Willie, anyway?

Tim: Oh, nothing at all – I’d just be surprised if anyone had watched it purely for the music. This, though, pretty much is a spectacular video.

Sure, the music’s there and is good, but that big dance section at the end, that’s not a dance section – that’s an accompaniment to a happy ending. I’d dance to it, sure, but I wouldn’t buy it, or possibly even listen to it on Spotify, because it’s now all about that video.

Tom: Huh. Okay, I see your logic there.

Tim: To be honest, this is a problem that’s pretty much caused itself – if YouTube’s a main way of listening to music, music has to look good in the video – so I’m not sure what the way to solve it would be. On the other hand, I’m really just hear to criticise from the sidelines rather than provide solutions, so SORT IT OUT PLEASE GUYS.

Avicii – The Nights

“What a smug bastard.”


Tom: Well, that is certainly a farmhouse track. In fact, I think I might go so far to say as being a bit of a lazy farmhouse track. I know his fans slated him for moving from more traditional EDM to this, but… well, I can’t help feeling that it might be time to move on a bit further.

Tim: Yeah, though the genre splurge has just about started to work for me now, so let’s not get too radical. In the video here, we see young Tim being thoroughly irresponsible and enjoying himself.

Tom: Yes. Despite my feeling a bit bored by the formula, clearly it’s a formula that works for him.

Tim: It does, and my main thought watching this is: what a smug bastard, with his good looks and lovely hair and all that money and talent and now just enjoying himself, making excellent dance music and rubbing his success in our faces. Ugh. Sickening, really, isn’t it?

Tom: It’s a heck of a bragging video, isn’t it? All the highlights of what you can get with enormous amounts of cash. Yes. Well done there.

Tim: I get to watch that and go and get on the tube back to my job after being on holiday and YAY how great that’ll be… Again, what a smug bastard.

Avicii – The Days

“Can you tell me: who’s singing this?”

Tom: Without looking up anything about this song, or looking at the comments, can you tell me: who’s singing this?

Tim: And that is…Robbie Williams?

Tom: And he’s not even credited! I mean, officially he is, but not on the YouTube video or in most of the track listings. I wonder what financial arrangement made that possible?

Tim: I’m guessing something like ALL OF THE MONIES.

Tom: Indeed, this is such a lovely Robbie 90s jangly-pop song during the first parts, that I sort of forgot this was Avicii. There’s a heck of a difference between that first verse and the final, instrumental outro.

Tim: I think there’s that, and also that Avicii has in recent tracks been getting gradually less Aviicii-like, cutting back of the heavy dance beats.

Tom: But you know what? It still works. He’s still got it. And I still expect this to reach the charts.

Tim: It does work, and I hope you’re right. Also, I think one of my favourite lyric videos: creative, fun, no typos, everything it needs.

Avicii – Addicted To You

“How on earth Audra Mae doesn’t get joint credit on that song, I don’t know.”

Tim: More of the farmhouse music, you’re probably expecting; take a listen.

Tom: Ha. “Farm-house”. Well done.


Tom: Oh my stars that’s amazing. That’s just wonderful. How on earth Audra Mae doesn’t get joint credit on that song, I don’t know, because that’s just her song. I’ve thought beforethat it’s unfair that producers get very little credit compared to singers, but surely this is too far in the other direction.

Tim: Regarding the singer, I agree with you fully. Because, well, it’s a big yes to the farm, but weirdly, pretty much no house at all. I say weirdly because, well, Avicii’s pretty much the biggest dance producer out there right now and this has none of his trademarks – there’s no big dance post-chorus like there should be in, well, not just his music but in any dance track.

Tom: Don’t care. It’s wonderful. This style is something I didn’t realise I was looking for. Save the full-on dance versions for the clubs: this is just great to listen to.

Tim: See, I disagree – to be honest (and admittedly probably because it so contrasted with my expectations, as I do quite like that remix), I find it kind of just dull – just somewhat bland country-infused pop. Also a bit odd with the bit at the start where the singer sounds like she’s going in to Skyfall. Shame.

Tom: Get out. She pretty much does Skyfall, and it’s exactly what the song needs.