I know, I know – the title is pretty aggressive. It would take a lot for me to say Avicii is not only “back” but that he’s also “better than ever”. 2011, the year that saw Avicii release his super smash hit “Levels” was six years ago. Some might argue that’s when he was launched into superstardom and some might argue that was his peak. Some might consider it one and the same.
I’ll be the first person to admit I was a huge Avicii fan back in the day. Hell, I even did a radio interview back in Boston where when I was asked who my favorite EDM DJ was, I couldn’t come up with any answers beyond Avicii. But I was a fan based on the songs that are lesser-known to the general public. Back when I listened to Tiesto’s radio shows, he played the song “Street Dancer” by Avicii and I was absolutely floored – it’s a brilliant song and probably my favorite of any Avicii track to this day. Other tracks I favored included “My Feelings For You“, “Tweet It“, “Snus“, and even the song he produced with Lenny Kravitz called “Superlove” (pretty funny video). If you go into my iTunes library you’ll find at least 30-40 tracks that are associated with Avicii, either his own productions, his remixes, or other artists’ remixes of his songs.
And fuck, you cannot talk to me about Avicii without mentioning the album he co-signed called Avicii Presents Strictly Miamiwhich was released in 2011. I don’t know how much of a hand he had in releasing the album, but it’s Progressive House gold. And it seems that was the only album of that kind – not exactly an album series, though it could have been a great concept.
In my opinion, Avicii shined as a Progressive House producer. After “Levels” was played in every bar, restaurant, club, and your mom’s car, true Avicii fans got sick of him. But the rest of the world adored him. He was selling out shows and headlining festivals. He was getting paid and making tabloid headlines by purchasing multi-million dollar mansions in the hills of Los Angeles. And then he went Country.
At that point it was all over for me. But the dude kept making music and kept touring and eventually burnt himself out. From my understanding he retired from touring because his body couldn’t handle the rockstar lifestyle anymore. As for music productions there have been some releases here and there, but all of them remained pretty soft.
So why am I posting about Avicii today? Because of one of my favorite apps called Mixcloud. Mixcloud is one of my favorite sources for radio shows, DJ mixes, and live sets and thanks to Mixcloud I realized that Avicii is still releasing his Levels podcast! I saw an Avicii mix come through my Mixcloud feed at the end of 2016 and to my surprise it was extremely enjoyable – embracing much of the same Progressive vibe that saw his rise to fame. Yesterday when I saw Avicii’s newest podcast had been released, out of pure curiosity, I decided to listen to episode 059.
The first song, Matt Fax – Circles, is on the mellow side and I thought would set the tone for the rest of the mix. Boy was I wrong. The second song is Chris Lake’s widely popular gem “Operator” which is a party starter and dance floor destroyer. From that point on there was no looking back: Avicii’s mix goes hard as fuck! I quickly texted my closest friends to share the mix and I received the expected pushback and barrage of “LOL, WTF? Are you serious?” I told them to trust me, and my pitch was that if you removed Avicii’s name from the mix you’d probably think it was a Tchami mix.
I urge everyone reading this to check out the mix below. It certainly doesn’t sound or feel like an Avicii mix – but it’s definitely an upbeat party-infused collection of Bass House and Future House tracks. I truly wonder if Avicii curated and mixed this podcast himself or if he had someone else doing it for him. We probably won’t find out the answer, as Avicii’s current state is a bit of a mystery, but this sure gets me excited to hear what might be in store from Avicii’s camp.