Its June of 2013, and I have had a long and tumultuous relationship with Avicii’s music. For two years we’ve all been stuck in the post ‘Levels’ phenomena, trying to accept how the song that DJs, from across genres applauded, became the theme song for the worst social movement of our time: the fist pumping – molly poppin – tanned & tight white tee wearing douchebag.
Whether its the unique addition of Etta James’ vocals from “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” or the thrilling progression of the massive anthem’s melody and bassline, this song changed what music was for a new generation of club and festival goers in the mainstream sector. As time passed, excited patrons anxious to have a say in the night’s music selection would rush the DJ booth wildly requesting “some Avicii Bro!?” And so I would comply, figuring they were requesting his latest song, but this was never the case. Whatever song I’d play would get no reaction from the crowd, and if I didn’t work Levels in to the set, the crowd would go home unhappy.
Flash forward to New Years last year. Right before the end of the year Avicii released a single with Nicky Romero that got me hooked. “I Could Be The One” gave me goosebumps. Now I’m very aware that this song was just another in a long line of mundane pop anthems, but the vocals and synths were so elating, that in an otherwise disturbingly boring time in music, this song was music to my ears. I pumped out this tune weekly, but rarely got much feedback.
In June of this year we spent two weeks on the most magical adventure in Iceland, and when we returned I was ready for something new. For months previous to this Wax Museum had been struggling to try to mix their love of the bluegrass country movement with their adoration of festival anthems and progressive house. Unable to find a connecting point for the two styles through multiple projects, we’d abandonded the idea. And then came the day I turned on “Wake Me Up”
Not only am I a huge fan of Aloe Blacc, but everything about this song worked perfectly for me. A number of people called out the drop for being too ‘cheesy,’ but I stuck by it, as I was aware first hand how complicated mashing the two styles was. When any new genre hits the scene, the sound is often unrefined, and I felt like that was the case with this tune. It was going to change the face of music, and the sound would become more solid as it was developed by multiple artists.
Now I’m sure by this point in time everyone has heard the song, and is aware of the less then postivie reaction it garnered at UMF this past year. Fans and reviewers alike condemmed Avicii for straying from his iconic progressive style. But for me, all of a sudden after years of indifference to Avicii, here I was his number one fan, consistently justifying the moves he made for his career. I argued that he had done what I had always dreamed was the best thing you could do with fame: sell out, get signed, make money, get famous AND THEN do your own thing… and the masses will follow. I delclared he had gone back to his roots and what inspired him to embark on a career in music in the first place. Through critics questioning him denying his fans what they craved, and friends and colleagues of mine claiming that this whole thing was just another marketing ploy, I continued supporting him. Gobs and I argued for hours about this tune, and I always had its back, saying it was an expression of Avicii’s musical roots. So, when the song began rising the charts and was projected to become the fastest selling single of all time, I took this as a victory for everyone who had set out to do what they loved, and then actually got to do it THEIR WAY.
And here is how Avicii made me look like one huge fucking ass hole:
One week ago I was visting a friend, and while waiting for the streetcar I noticed something out of the corner of my eye: A fashion ad at the streetcar stop… but the lead model bore a striking resemblence to Avicii. I looked down to my bag again to untangle my headphones from the 300 other cords in my bag, but my mind raised a question that I couldn’t ignore: “what was Avicii doing in a fashion ad?” I should have dismissed this notion immediately because what I discovered upon further inspection cannot be undone.
I have been a long time advocate for not watching videos or keeping up with celebrity gossip regarding musicians, mainly because I try to remain impartial in my interest in a song and only judge it based on its dancefloor banger capabilities. Sometimes watching a bad video to an already terrible song just makes it too unbearable to play – when people are still expecting it.
And here, infront of my eyes was this: An advertisement for the video of “Wake Me Up!” An advertisement that toted that this was their first “shoppable video.”
Now what is a shoppable video you ask? Well I will type a response to you inbetween my fits of vomiting and showering to wash off the unclean feeling overwhelming me. It is a video, produced by “Denim & Supply: Ralph Lauren” where you can ORDER THE CLOTHES SEEN IN THE VIDEO. So some of you probably don’t understand why this is so disgusting. But, as an ex-pat of the fashion industry, the soul-sucking nature of this pair made me especially sick. Not only did I feel completely violated and tricked in to believing that Avicii was an artist with integrity, but I had made a fool out of myself to everyone I had told this to.
The bottom line? This was a marketing ploy. All of you that I spoke to supporting Avicii and his new style, I was wrong. I was a fool to believe that he, of all people, still believed in artistic integrity, that he was trying to speak out against the masses. I was wrong, Avicii is a tool, and has now moved to a spot on my list of the biggest jokes in music, almost as low as FloRida. But at least FloRida never tried to convince me he was a legitimate artist.
Or maybe I shouldn’t be so upset. We’ve mostly written this blog about the disappearance of the genre, so maybe now that the genre is dead, they moved on to the next level: the mass extinction of different mediums of media. First video killed the radio star, then twitter became the forefront in journalism, and now fashion has taken over music videos. And why not, with the invention of products like those ‘google glasses,’ they’ll soon be projecting media right in to our brains. So why have to transmit music, videos, shopping, image, and social media all on different platforms when one medium can all share the same message: CONSUME.
So once again we wait… we wait to see what abomination will suck the last bit of life out of the music industry, while I once again hope for a movement that is pure. One day I will find ‘that’ song again.