If its first single is any indication, Avicii is using his debut album, True, to step out of his pop-electronic comfort zone.
While “Wake Me Up” incorporates his signature melodic vocals, this time from Aloe Blacc, the energy of the track was far from his usual pop electronic, with banjos and an overall country twang.
At a time when the predictability and repetition of electronic music is being criticized more and more, 23-year-old Tim Bergling made a choice to produce something so noticeably different from other house music — and even his own.
“I didn’t want ‘Levels’ to identify me. In a sense, it’s just a song, and I’ve always produced a lot of music, so I wanted to do something really different,” he explained to MTV News at a True listening party in New York. “I really wanted to make sure to do something different [with ‘Wake Me Up’] than what anyone else is doing.”
“Wake Me Up” was a #1 song within 45 minutes of its release, and it has climbed to #1 in 14 countries as of Thursday, proving to artists the high rewards that can come from taking high risks.
The single is not, however, the only changed element of Avicii’s trajectory as an artist. When Avicii took the stage Wednesday night to play a few tracks of the album to his fans, music executives, and press in New York City, his other tracks garnered the same level of excitement as the single. For a genre that usually detours around a conventional single or album rollout, the traditionalism of the event was notable.
As for the public’s reception of True, we will have to wait until September to see. But if Avicii describes his work as “out of the EDM comfort zone,” its debut is sure to be just as newsworthy as its rollout.