Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Avicii – Wake Me Up

ft. Aloe Blacc, apparently…

Josh Langhoff: A study in competing awkwardnesses: pseudo-spiritual lyrics that actually include the phrase “finding myself,” vs. whatever bizarre jig-nod you?d end up doing if it came on in a club. The Full Mumford!

Patrick St. Michel: If I were grading Avicii’s business smarts, this one would be an easy [10]. Drew Millard recently wrote an article about the economics of EDM, with one of the big statistical reveals being that 90 percent of the EDM industry is made up of festivals. Avicii already has that covered, as the lyric video for “Wake Me Up” shows, via his headlining spots at two Ultra Music Festivals (and I was at the second one featured, where people were amped up for him… like five hours before he played). So how does he expand his audience? Tap into the OTHER type of music earning the big font on festival posters — Mumford-core. This will probably be huge and make Avicii even more money, so good going, kid. Musically though, this is boring Avicii crossbred with, like, Of Monsters And Men (with surprising Aloe Blacc vocal appearance). Stick to the side stages.

Scott Mildenhall: It doesn’t exactly take some kind of Eagle-Eye Cherry to spot that this sounds a bit like one of the Mumford & So Ons discovering that new-fangled genre “EDM“. In some ways it’s a redundant fusion — the Mumford “experience” already being very much “banjo rave” — but the more cynical might consider it contrived. It might be, it might not be, but it doesn’t feel it. Where Avicii’s other 2013 number one outright bludgeoned the actually pretty beautiful sentiment at its heart, Aloe Blacc’s world-weariness is kept firmly intact here, and accordingly the whole thing makes sense.

Anthony Easton: The two most popular kinds of fratboy music (brostep and Mumfordite), combined in one sentimental gooey mess. It could be much worse, though. Avicii can mix.

Iain Mew: Ever since Mumford & Sons brought ADM to the masses, it was only a matter of time before the potential of ÆDM became apparent. Avicii, coming at it from the opposite side as OneRepublic, makes a much worse go of it. It’s instructive that Aloe Blacc, a guy who has had a sizeable hit, doesn’t even get a title credit, because the song element feels like a tacked on afterthought, and one to which he isn’t that well suited. The highlights are the bits of the instrumental breaks before the full-on synths take over, a delicate and unusual treat.

John Seroff: The unholy trinity of frat-boy soul, “retarded Irish folk” and watered down brostep blooms to full poisonous flower here as a vehicle for the generally likeable Aloe Blacc to pull a “Full Franti” in Dave Matthews drag over twee Fruityloops Riverdance. It is, of course, a massive success. As are other things

Alfred Soto: Cool — Brits like Mumford too.

Katherine St Asaph: At this point I would rather listen to Mumford and Sons than people complaining about Mumford and Sons. (Remember this? “At the heart of The Game is fear and loathing and boredom concerning the possibility of being bourgeois.”) If Avicii wants to mash up two of 2013’s most populist genres, good for him; masterpieces have been built on that formula. This is not one of them, but the problem — bizarrely, for Avicii — isn’t one of genre but of scale. You can’t make a perfectly pleasant folk ditty less of a ditty by adding rave synths.

Brad Shoup: Canny to me and perhaps you, but the Ultra crowd was not feeling this one. Having to look at a DJ is bad enough, I guess, without putting an actual septuagenarian on stage. The idea of a laptop jockey stretching into the live-band format — and getting slapped down by a decent contingent of his fanbase — is the sort of thing that gets music critics up in the afternoon. But that’s icing. The real story is Avicii’s dicey combo of buzzy back-porch strum and synth twang. It hangs together. Aloe Blacc’s sluice of a voice pours out whatever emotional content can be found in this carpetbagging lament; he may not be having fun, but the nimble synths are, and long-player pretensions aside, that’s still what matters.

Mallory O’Donnell: It would be lovely to think that something slightly left-of-center is happening here, but the only real difference between this and a million other tracks is that the traditional set of contempo-house signifiers has been swapped for another. Instead of a repetitive diva verse we have a repetitive Aloe Blacc one, instead of sequencer twiddling we have guitar plucking, instead of an electro throb-out we have some leftover Danish/Irish Eurovision fiddle dee-da and instead of a generic rave breakdown we have a generic rave breakdown. It’s far too much to expect of the likes of an Avicii, but it could be genuinely interesting to hear even dull stadium house of this stripe that was influenced by other genres, rather than merely utilizing them.

Will Adams: People who this is trolling: Mumford & Sons fans, who have to put up with what sounds like a knockoff tribute band; Avicii fans, who have to put up with what sounds like a knockoff tribute DJ; me, who has to put up with both.

Reader average: [5.83] (6 votes)

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6 Responses to “Avicii – Wake Me Up”

  1. Wait, what? How is this in any way brostep?

  2. thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa… quiet quiet quiet except for sole melodic device… PAUSE with swoosh upwards and then THE DROP THUMPA THUMPA THUMPA THUMPA THUMPA THUMPA
    wash rinse bropeat

  3. You just onomatopoetically described the genre of progressive house.

    There’s no drop, there’s no 2-step beat, there’s no wobble bass. There’s a buildup, a breakdown, and a climax. The structure couldn’t be more of a polar opposite to brostep.

    A person who can’t tell the difference between progressive house and brostep is to reviewing EDM what a person who can’t tell the difference between a Chablis and a warm glass of Dr Pepper is to wine reviews.

  4. all i claim to know is when the pop is flat.

  5. there needs to be a themed tumblr i can submit that comment to

  6. John, you win the argument based on that pun alone.