he career of Tim Bergling personified the brilliant facets of Electronic Dance Music perhaps more than any other artist. His death last year robbed EDM of its greatest pioneer - the man who was the driving force behind the genres explosion in popularity on a global scale.
Over a 9-year period Avicii became a goliath of mainstream dance. His release of Seek Bromance in 2010 catapulted him to the forefront of a genre that was very much in its infancy. The trademark fusion of pop vocals & synth melodies with his release of Levels and Silhouettes delivered songs that became ingrained in the genres DNA.
Before his death in 2018, Bergling was on the cusp of finishing another full-length work, said to be 90% complete. Now, just over a year after his death at just 28 years old, his family, alongside long-time collaborators, have released the posthumous album TIM - a tribute to the incredible talent we lost.
With the fact in mind that TIM was never destined to be truly Avicii, the purpose of its release reaches beyond just financial motives or a drive to deliver the next big EDM hit; it instead strives to present itself as a worthy, accurate and emotional tribute to a man the likes of which we’ll never see again.
Thematically, there’s a definite sense of darkness attached to the album, and whether this is reflective of Bergling’s life experience or just a general shift in musical direction is open to interpretation. A step-down from his usual tone, the vocal overlay on several of TIM’s tracks give way to a sense of distress, with the likes of Peace of Mind, SOS & Bad Reputation built around lyrics of frustration and anguish, laying their stories out on top of soft drawn-out piano melodies.
It’s definitely an emotional album at its core, however the diversity in the nature of TIM’s tracks make it difficult to determine the intention of the finished product. The darker elements are in many cases balanced out with the inclusion of uplifting tropical beats and melodies, and even the vocals appear multifaceted, balancing between darkness and tales of uplifting motivation.
This sense of balance the album finds seems an almost perfect metaphor for Bergling’s life - one torn between the bright nature of his music and his crippling inner demons.
Aside from the emotional diversity another key standout from TIM is the diverse list of talent that appears on its tracklist. Even with this heavy focus on collaborations, the finished product is tactful enough to succeed in feeling no less like Avicii than you’d hope.
Heaven is the biggest standout on the album, pairing emotional vocals from Coldplay’s Chris Martin with beautifully uplifting synths and light piano melodies, and creating a track that’s truly reminiscent of the Avicii we fell in love with. Fades Away also stands out as an incredibly powerful conclusion. If TIM were to be thought of as a metaphor for Avicii’s life, this is the song you’d pick to soundtrack it. Its layered determination and vigor are the ideal exemplar for Bergling’s musical and personal career, and it's the perfect way to say goodbye.
In eulogising artists it’s common to make the deceased into something greater than they were, but with Avicii this adoration is warranted. As Diplo said, Bergling was the “only one to always make timeless songs.” Few artists in EDM - if any - managed to achieve Bergling’s success, a man who’s been described as ‘one of the best natural melody writers the world has ever seen.’
EDM as a genre is indebted to Avicii in countless ways, to the point where it can be questioned whether its popularity today would be the same if it weren’t for him, and while this album might not attain the same brilliance as his past, its place within his discography can’t be dampened.
Upon retiring from touring in 2016 Bergling said; “We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters most to us. For me, it’s creating music. That is what I live for and what I feel I was born to do.”
If TIM can be seen as anything, it’s the musical eulogy of EDM’s most important artist. Sit back, give it a listen, and revel in the brilliant melodies & Bergling’s unmistakable fingerprints that adorn this emotional farewell.
On a final note from everyone here at PinkMilk - we urge you to remember that no matter what you’re struggling with, you aren’t alone. If you ever feel it’s necessary, please contact the following numbers. Help is always there for those who need it.
Lifeline Australia - 13 11 14
Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636