Welcome to Avicii country, a barren wasteland where music goes to die
The Swedish DJ and his people have decided there are millions to be made from toxic, barbaric, putrid mutant bluegrass – and unfortunately, they’re not wrong
Avicii: countrytronica adventures
Pop music loves a formula like a politician loves a soundbite. If something works well once, there’s every chance it’ll work well the second, third or, what-the-heck, 14th time around.
In the case of Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, his version of “the best small country in the world in which to do business” is sticking accordions and harmonicas into the middle of a turgid, lumpen, morbid, extra-large slab of truly awful electronic music. If you think that description is hackneyed, it’s nothing compared to the tracks in question.
A few years ago, most of us thought music had finally rolled over and died when the Scandinavian musician unleashed Wake Me Up. This was music as a day out at the abattoir, a crude slasher flick of awfulness with gore and guts oozing from every crevice. You heard the track and you suddenly discovered previously concealed intellectual depths in Agadoo, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Too Shy and Barbie Girl.
Of course, thousands of morons flocked to Avicii. It’s always the way. Sold and streamed by the million, the success of Wake Me Up convinced Avicii he had to come back with more.
Which is where that formula in the first paragraph comes into the equation. Avicii and Avicii’s people decided there was untapped moolah to be made from this good ol’ mutant bluegrass rave gene and threw Hey Brother at the masses a few months later. That also stuck in the same way as dog s**t sticks to the sole of your boots.
Some people managed to escape the first bombardments, so Avicii came back again. Part of you wants to say the latest track, the toxic, barbaric and putrid The Nights, is the nadir of Avicii’s countrytronica adventures. Sadly, part of you knows all too well there is probably a new low around the corner.
Avicii knows exactly what he is doing. As he flies around on his private jet, waving his USB keys like he just don’t care, he can purr like Dr Evil because he has hit the jackpot.
By making tracks that blend the two biggest musical scenes around right now – the EDM raver meets the country music bro – he could well end up being bigger than both. Take that, Florida Georgia Line! Suck on that, David Guetta!
The problem for the rest of us is that other deluded buffoons are sure to follow. Every musical formula eventually becomes a cliché, and you can assume similar crimes are being plotted in offices and studios worldwide.
YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS
Are you ready to be heartbroken? Björk’s new album Vulnicura may speak to many on this topic right now, but so too will this dark, soulful, delightful debut from Natalie Prass. Full of the kind of flicker and heart that informed the best Dusty Springfield, Carole King or Evie Sands records, here are the tracks of her tears to make you gently swing and sway.
LINGO ON TOUR In 2011, OTR initially noted Bray trio Wyvern Lingo’s lush harmonies and striking melodic pop. These days many more have come around to the wonders of what Karen Cowley, Saoirse Duane and Caoimhe Barry are producing. On the back of their recent Widow Knows EP, and fresh from shoring up Hozier’s live band, the trio kick off an Irish tour at Castlebar’s Ruby Room on Feb 6th. wyvernlingo.com.