This past March, I, like many, made my way to Ultra’s main stage Miami, anticipating Avicii’s premier of his new album #Truth. I found myself in the minority as I enjoyed the mixup he caused by playing with members of incubus, Aloe Blacc, and others in a live mix. To many, it was a nail in the coffin, sealing Avicii as a “sell-out”, saying Ultra is not the place for such acts, that he’s gone country, that he’s trying too hard. This baffled me then and does even more so now. I can understand if someone just disliked the music he played, but many of his attackers are overly-vicious and go to the core, as proven and chronicled in an article GQ published shortly after his ultra performance.
But why? The crime doesn’t deserve the punishment. Avicii may be a sell out to some for Levels, but if faulting someone for being popular is making them a sell-out then there isn’t a single artist or performer who isn’t one. Isn’t that the goal of music? To reach as much of a crowd as is possible and for them to enjoy what you do? Avicii seems to be making an effort to do just that, however, some still claim he’s a poor DJ. I think nearly anyone who takes a listen to Avicii’s guest mix on Diplo in Friends this past march would disagree. Then why all the flack over this man? His new single, Wake Me Up, is scrutinized for being a folk-electro song. Lets be honest with ourselves for a minute here and think back to our childhood, to the music our parents played us. Nostalgic right? I know in my home I grew up with James Tayor, The Beatles, and classical music. I don’t think I could enjoy EDM as much as I do had my parents not played those artists when I was younger. EDM is a lot like classical music in its complexity and if such is true then whats wrong with Wake Me Up seeming to have influences of James Taylor?
I think the reach of Avicii’s new album may scare the new fans he brings to the scene. But aren’t we known as a welcoming community? Isn’t EDM about peace, love, unity and respect? Avicii himself stated in response to his Ultra performance:
“…(my music) is all about melodies and positive energy. I will continue to make music I love and listen to.”
I don’t think anyone can say he doesn’t accomplish that. Avicii’s songs are uplifting and joyful pieces that the huge grin on his face proves every performance. I hope that his broader sounds entice more fans.
Fault him for having a Ralph Lauren line, dislike his sound, but don’t call him untalented. Less we forget, he’s a 23 year old kid who’s number 3 on the DJ Mag top DJs and worldwide hits.