Top positive review
Electronic Dance Music that crosses genre boundaries
26 September 2013
Apart from an unofficial remix of Lady Antebellum's Need You Now, I have never heard country music and electronic dance music in the same song before, but Avicii - famous already for dance tracks such as Levels (Original Version), Silhouettes (Original Radio Edit) and Fade Into Darkness (Vocal Edit) - seems to have successfully found the formula.
Whilst it can be debated whether or not the number one single Wake Me Up is really country music, there can be no doubt with the third track on this album, Hey Brother. You just know with some songs if they are one genre or the other, and Hey Brother is country music without question. Even though it has a beat to it and all the other EDM effects, it's more country than many country artists are now, even fused - and fused incredibly successfully - with Avicii's refreshingly diverse dance music ingredients.
It's not all country though, and the second track, You Make Me, is more in the vein of the music we've come to expect from Avicii - who is one of those rare DJ / artists who actually makes a real attempt for every track he puts out to sound unique and different from the others. Funk-tinged, infectious and offbeat, it's the second single for a very good reason.
The soul/pop of Addicted To You is an excellent gateway into what was already a fan favourite before this album even had a title - Dance In The Water, often wrongly accredited as featuring Lana Del Ray - appears here under the name Dear Boy. It's the longest track on the album, and it deserves to be, as it is possibly the best creatively and appears at that point on the album where many people listening for the first time will suddenly make the realisation that they already really love this album.
The second half of the album continues to play about with the genres, bringing funk, rock, swing and pop into the mix to various degrees on Liar Liar, Shame On You and Lay Me Down before tricking you into thinking you're entering chillout territory on the Antony and the Johnsons cover Hope There's Someone, which builds up and pulls back the beats at just the right times. The album closes with an instrumental featuring piano and strings, but if you're got the digital special edition it keeps going with Always On The Run, which is a more poppy track than any before it.
Perhaps because 10 tracks is seen as the correct amount for a "proper album", one of the other special edition tracks - once you have heard it - is conspicuous by its absence, especially because it would have also brought jazz to the album. That track is Long Road to Hell, and although you can't get it through Amazon, I'm sure Amazon wouldn't mind me recommending that you go over to i-somethingorother (am I allowed to mention it?) and download that track too.
If the type of case you get for the physical release matters to you, as it does to me, then you may be pleased to know it's not a cardboard sleeve but one of those new round-edged jewel cases.