Friday, October 24th, 2014

Avicii – The Days

“I’m standing in the middle of life with my synths behind me”


Scott Mildenhall: Robbie Williams is often at his best when allowed to stray from the middle of the road. Similar can be said for Avicii. In another lifetime, this could be spectacular. Guy Chambers isn’t even involved, and yet it’s as flat as a pancake. For three minutes the only diversion is the thought of the access to Radio 1 and America Robbie is gaining by stealth; Avicii going a little bit wiggly at the end is a saving grace.

Luisa Lopez: The greatness of this song being its goofiness, its tried-out stupidity and dogged happiness. A little something to brighten our autumn days. Avicii isn’t exactly a messenger of anything profound or even, in the way we sometimes mean it, great, so actually what works here, and what worked in “Wake Me Up” and “Addicted to You” and everything else, is that it’s the same song repeated in various costumes, reappearing untouched in almost every way except a few verses, a lovely and lingering affair with the many ways to say Let’s dance.

Iain Mew: I like the goofy dinkiness of the drop and ending, which gives an unexpected way out of Avicii’s new rut of oversized EDMOR. The problem is that the song up to that point is a nothing, which is not a problem I would have expected with Robbie on board. For years, his own material in this tempo featured a constant battle between sincerity and smirk, a sense that his personality was too big to be contained by the song. It could be infuraiting as well as great, but never boring. His part on “The Days” is the sound of those warring forces having reached stalemate.

Micha Cavaseno: No man is more determined to dig a tunnel right beneath the middle of the road out from the confines of EDM Hell,than Avicii.

Abby Waysdorf: Robbie Williams will probably finally break America with this, but at what cost? This isn’t even a good Bon Jovi song. It took “Wake Me Up” a surprisingly long time to get tiring, but I was annoyed with “The Days” within the first listen. I won’t even be happy to dance to it when I’m drunk. 

David Sheffieck: Hearing Avicii’s evolution is kinda stunning, and this continues his run of tracks successfully mining #YOLO territory for all it’s worth, anchored an outro that reveals a build so slow it’s easy to miss entirely. But if we’re gonna give Duke Dumont shit, it’s only fair: -3 for the lack of credit to Robbie Williams, whose vocals carry the first section of the song. I know he doesn’t need it in the same way that Kelli-Leigh does, but that’s not enough to make it the right move on Avicii’s part.

Katherine St Asaph: The slow transmogrification of EDM into Journey is something no one could have predicted, or wanted to predict.

Thomas Inskeep: While this isn’t as dire as “Wake Me Up,” it’s still uninteresting. “The Days” manages to neuter Robbie Williams of all personality, and FFS when did strummy guitar become de rigueur in EDM-pop? Should be a huge soccer-stadium anthem across Europe next summer. Jock Jams 2015 awaits.

Patrick St. Michel: It never comes on “The Days.” That moment, on the bulk of Avicii’s tracks, signifying that the hands-in-the-air moment has arrived, the EDM equivalent of a sign flashing “DANCE.” But here, it’s just guitar strums and Robbie Williams’ husky voice and some synth plink-plonks skipping forward. And then, right near the end, just when it seems like that boring lunkheaded moment is finally going to drop in…it turns out to be a MIDI approximation of, like, a Clarence Clemons’ sax solo. The most pleasant of surprises. 

Alfred Soto: The too-long organ solo sounds like an ebullience earned but also an ebullience prolonged and attenuated. An ever-present present is Avicii’s intention and lived reality, as if with his acoustic guitar and stadium ready nostrums he’s ready to write his own “I Gotta Feeling.” He’s selling it — he’s selling it hard.

Brad Shoup: More synths filtered into a Celtic lilt, please. Fewer songs yearning for youth written by Brandon Flowers, also. Robbie sounds fine, maybe a little weighed down by the synths caught in the guitar strings.

Will Adams: Most of the interest comes from how the structure bucks typical EDM dynamics; the beat eases its way in with a pleasant guitar strum and Robbie Williams’ styrofoam-grade inspiring vocal. It isn’t until the third act that the lead synth comes through that “The Days” veers toward a true festival moment. As it stands, it’s fitted more for wedding or middle school dancefloors, which means it’s serviceable but not world-beating.

Reader average: [5.66] (3 votes)

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5 Responses to “Avicii – The Days”

  1. I don’t know if Brandon Flowers did play any part here. He has worked with Avicii, and Wikipedia says he did on this, but I saw conflicting information elsewhere. I checked ASCAP (as you do) and there his name is replaced by Robbie’s. If anything I find that more surprising.

  2. Might there be a second version where he sings? Hm…

  3. I think I might prefer Flowers doing his whole “I love this old town and I love you but there comes a time when my time is through” schtick to Robbie’s Skyped-in autobluster here to be honest.

  4. (I love that schtick, in fact.)

  5. If Flowers had sung this I might have given a [6]