In Memoriam: Avicii

The passing of Avicii was untimely. I feel a tribute is necessary to honour one of the music industry’s top DJs and an artist that touched my life.

Back in 2016, he decided to take a break from touring. There were concerns around his health that led him to take this action.

But prior to his passing, he released a collaboration with Rita Ora entitled “Lonely Together”. His situation seemed under control and no one publicly knew his condition has escalated to a degree that I’d now be discussing his legacy.

Avicii was far from being a critical darling. But he owned the clubs and was worshipped as a god by those who partied on the dance floor. He might not have satisfied the taste of the elite few. But he got approval and reverence from the masses.

If you ask me, I’d say he hit the right market – helping a generation have the night of a lifetime. And that is more impact compared to what most of the critics (and even artists) can claim.

You don’t have to force yourself to be reminded of his contributions. Even today, “Levels” is a staple track on many of the playlists in the top nightclubs. Once the words “Oh, sometimes I get a good feeling” are uttered, the crowd goes wild and party is in the air.

Even though years have passed since the release of “Levels”, the sound has hardly aged. The track is on a league of its own, alongside Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash’s “Reload”, Martin Garrix’ “Animals” and DVBBS and Borgeous’ “Tsunami”.

With his death, “Levels” will live on. The song now comes with a different baggage. Let it serve as a reminder of how fleeting life is.

He also brought us one of the most inescapable tracks of the decade. Alongside David Guetta’s “Titanium”, Zedd’s “Clarity”, and the Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child”, Avicii put the genre at a pedestal and made DJ-fronted collaborations at the heart of the radio and streaming world. His contribution to this era was “Wake Me Up” with Aloe Blacc.

From time to time, I get a sense of nostalgia and decide to give the track another listen. The general sentiment is that the song is overplayed. I’m sure I can remember a time when it wasn’t and I would agree that the track is in fact genius.

Nowadays, EDM is integral to pop music and most mainstream musicians have co-opted the format. We have these DJs, including Avicii, to thank for it.

I might be in the minority. But I have to say that the last few years of singles coming from Avicii were his best. They appear to be his most personal and most vulnerable. His content evolved from club bangers to a life soundtrack that I can play on repeat. I listen to them on the way to work, at work, at home, and of course, at parties.

Now that his music has taken on a different trajectory, his unfortunate passing is a curveball I’m heartbroken over.

Personally, my favourite is “The Nights”. It was an ode to his father. The song is one I’d dedicate to my own. Any artist that can move you with his/her music on a visceral level deserves respect and homage. I hope I’ve given him my gratitude and some justice by writing this piece.

His latest, “Without You” is more cathartic and more helpful than any drink you can subject your liver to, any advice a friend can offer, and any medicine a doctor can prescribe. It is the perfect partner in dealing with heartache. I’d say it’s one of his masterpieces.

The power of his music is undeniable. I do not know the man personally. But his music helped me have a good time when I needed one. He became my companion through some rough days. It’s heartbreaking to know only his music can survive. He has touched the lives of many and has the capacity for more.


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