Release Date: Oct 2, 2015
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, EDM
Swedish DJ Avicii is a strange case. In 2011, he broke through with "Levels," a bleepy and bright bit of EDM that could have been his signature hit, but then his 2013 album, True, was a country-pop and folk-inspired affair that thrilled his fans with its inventiveness, but left others as cold as a meandering Mumford & Sons remix effort. Two years later, his LP Stories is another genre-busting affair that fits in better with mainstream radio than it does the club, but everything iffy about True has been perfected here, as the producer revisits the song-oriented album and lets the outside genres freely come and go.
"California! Don't let me down! Seems so golden!" chants Avicii's Swedish homeboy Sandro Cavazza on "Sunset Jesus." It's a striver's tale, engineered by eight co-writers, that reimagines 1970s K-Tel-style AM radio pop as a Eurocheese house rave-up, complete with a relentless crowd sample that suggests a Rose Bowl full of Red Bull-chugging 6th graders. Sure, America may be a mess. But as the superstar DJ also known as Tim Bergling proved on his country-tinged 2013 smash, True — and reasserts on this all-star follow-up — promised-land fantasies remain a solid pop investment.
The Swedish DJ and producer Avicii has been filling arenas with his big-tent take on house music for a few years, and in 2013 he struck gold with “True,” his first solo album, which yielded the Aloe Blacc-led monster hit “Wake Me Up. ” “Stories” continues the trend of Avicii laying down beats while others take on vocals; an often-potent collection of genre-hopping bangers whose singers come both from within the dance world (like London-based yowler Celeste Waite, who throws down on the sinewy “Touch Me”) and outside it. Coldplay’s Chris Martin provides vocals and piano on the pulsing “True Believer,” giving the swirling track just enough oomph to be readily mistaken for a remixed tune by his band; roots-rock stalwart Zac Brown’s grizzled contribution to the hyperactive “Broken Arrows” might just give him his first taste of the top-40 life.