Goodbye Avicii

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As this is a cinema page, you may wonder why we are dedicating it to Avicii, aka Tim Bergling, who recently passed away in Oman, composer of hits such as Wake Me Up.

We are doing so because Swedish DJ/composer Avicii, hailed by some as EDM’s answer to Mozart, was as active in film as he was on the dance scene. He has penned songs that have graced our television sets as well as the big screen, with a grand total of 53 soundtrack credits at the tender age of 28.

Grammy award-winning composer and performer Nile Rodgers (whom some of you may have seen performing on the Coast) hit the nail on the head when he said that Avicii was “the best natural melody writer I have ever met in my life.” Quite a compliment coming from the musical legend, who himself penned songs such as He’s the Greatest Dancer, Le Freak, or Upside Down.

Avicii was only 16 when he composed the song that catapulted him to fame: Levels (nominated for a Grammy), up there in sheer genius with Robert Mills’ Children. It is the kind of song that fits in perfectly with sports that require athletes to get into ‘the Zone’ to succeed… including cycling, running, or swimming.

When you need a little motivation, you might play Kanye West’s Stronger, David Guetta’s Titanium, or Avicii’s Levels. Few tracks can compete in terms of versatility or popularity.

Avicii signed his first record deal at the age of 16, his debut album True (2013) revealing glimmers of what would become a penchant for fusing various musical genres.

True made it to the Top 10 in over 15 countries due to songs such as Wake Me Up, a tune that was no less than revolutionary owing to its strong country music influences and the use of traditional southern instruments like the banjo.

Other hits include the singles You Make Me, Addicted to You, Waiting for Love, and Lonely Together. In 2012, Avicii and David Guetta were nominated for a Granny for their track, Sunshine.

Because Avicii was so prolific, everyone has their own favourite song from his repertoire, probably associated with special moments in their lives. The one that will always resonate the most with me is I Could Be the One.

Like Hey Brother, it reveals a sad longing for acceptance, friendship, and unconditional love. The video, though, is a classic. Let me copy Kanye’s line: “I’mma gonna’ interrupt you here but I Could Be the One is one of the best videos of all time… of ALL time.”

I Could Be the One’s video is centred on a middle-aged office worker who is bored with her life and frustrated with the endless work her boss piles on her desk.

Up to her ears, she goes berserk at work, having a total meltdown and destroying equipment and furniture, before booking her one-way ticket to Barbados (the music is interspersed with a short script).

There, the woman goes wild… throwing her diet out the window, riding with a handsome man on a horse (on the beach of course), and generally epitomising the very best of the ‘thug life’.

Just as you are celebrating her rebelliousness and freedom, something happens… of course, I won’t tell you what it is… you will have to watch it.

The video may be hilarious but the lyrics are a homage to what love can achieve. “I could be the only one to make you feel that way. I could be the one to set you free,” they say. Those who were fans of Avicii knew how much he struggled with success and the pressures of his life during tours.

A few years ago he announced his retirement from touring after alcohol-related health scares. Although the exact cause of death has not been announced, his family published a beautiful letter.

They wrote:
“Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. An over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.

When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most — music. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.

Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.”

Indeed, his music will keep him alive… but how we yearn for the music he had yet to make. “The rest is silence.”

Words Marisa Cutillas

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