Tim a celebration of Avicii's life

Posthumous albums are tricky because of the weight they carry and the uncertainty about the end product, especially one that an artist was working on before dying.

In this case, the album Tim is named after Tim Bergling, better known as powerhouse Swedish electronic dance music (EDM) DJ and producer Avicii.

He died last year at age 28 after committing suicide.

The album release had the blessing of his family, as well as a reported plethora of notes, e-mails and texts his producer collaborators could draw on to finish the tracks.

Twelve songs were whittled down from 16, making this his first album since 2015's Stories.

It was Avicii's wish that two people connected in real life would perform the track Tough Love as a duet.

  • ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC

    TIM

    Avicii

    Universal

    3.5 stars

Fellow Swede and producer-singer Vargas sings on the pulsating Arabic/East Indian violin-laced track with his wife Agnes, who is best known for her 2009 pop hit Release Me.

The track SOS features vocals by American singer Aloe Blacc, who was handpicked by Avicii. Blacc previously sang on the producer's hit tracks Hey Brother and Wake Me Up.

There are also crowd-pleasing big-name collaborations, such as the euphoric Heaven, with British group Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin, as well as the darker Heart Upon My Sleeve, with American pop-rockers Imagine Dragons.

But given the way Avicii died, it is impossible not to notice that there are songs that hint of struggle, such as the breathless Peace Of Mind.

The song, about taking a break from being accessible all the time in a world dominated by social media, opens with "Dear society, you are moving way too fast, way too fast for me, I'm just tryna catch my breath".

Vargas then goes into a bridge, singing: "Can I get a little peace of mind? And a little bit of silence to unwind?"

But instead of a painful reminder of his tragic death, the album Tim feels like a celebration of Avicii's life.

There are still the piano chords that build to a blissful climax, the party-friendly EDM drops and the simple but effective lyrics revolving around life, love and, sometimes, pain and struggle.

It all feels true to Avicii.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Tim a celebration of Avicii's life'. Print Edition | Subscribe