Avicii’s Posthumous Album ‘Tim’: Everything We Learned from Listening to It

“I will never let go of music—I will continue to speak to my fans through it”

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Two months ago in April, Avicii fans were gifted “SOS,” his first posthumous song, with the promise of a full album arriving on June 6. That project, titled Tim in honor of his birth name, is now here—a dozen tracks packed with lyrics laying out Avicii’s battle with depression during his final days.  

Tim, Avicii’s first album release since 2015’s Stories, explores the mental hardships, struggles, and loneliness brought on by worldwide fame and a 24/7 job of touring and producing music. “Can you hear me? SOS” are the opening words of the lead single, which grants us an inside look at Avicii’s battle with his mental and physical health.

That same heaviness is felt immediately in the album’s opener, “Peace of Mind,” with deep and melancholy lyrics like “Dear society, you are moving way too fast. Way too fast for me. I'm just tryna catch my breath.” The album brings light to the inexplicable life fans were made aware of in Avicii: True Stories, a documentary that followed Avicii’s career and lifestyle up until his final days.

With collaborations and features from remarkable artists such as Imagine Dragons, Chris Martin, BONN, the sounds range between Avicii’s popular techno-dance beats to a newer light melody. The project also features previous collaborators like Vargas & Lagola and Aloe Blacc. Different than typical collaborations between musicians, every person working on Tim held a paramount responsibility of bringing to life the masterpiece that Avicii once envisioned. From years of working together, learning which sounds Avicii did and did not like, and relying on memorable conversations, Tim was brought to life.

The album is extremely vulnerable and doesn’t sugarcoat any of the dark and morose emotions Avicii was feeling during the majority of his mainstream career. “Bad Reputation” mixes upbeat electronic and tropical sounds with profound lyrics like “Rolling away in my dreams, can you feel that I'm falling? Laying awake till the morning.” The haunting theme in “Freak” spotlights feeling like an outsider, being judged by a large audience and not wanting to die young. “Hold the Line” explores dealing with an inner battle of not wanting to push through a struggle and wanting to give up completely.

With vibrant Indian sounds in “Tough Love” and his more common cheery, tropical house beats in “Heaven,” Avicii put experimentation at the forefront of this album. “Ain’t a Thing” displays the country western, dance music mix we first discovered in 2013’s “Wake Me Up” featuring Aloe Blacc while "Excuse Me Sir" and "Heart Upon My Sleeve" sound comprehensively different than anything he’s ever released.

Avicii, born Tim Bergling, left behind a list of amazing EDM and house music tunes that fans will cherish beyond his years. With the release of Tim, it’s evident that an artist can continue to impact and create after death. Posthumous projects are not unusual. Michael Jackson, Tupac, and more recently Prince and XXXTentacion are some of the several musicians who released music after their death. While the work was produced by the artist, most of the proceeds from the projects are returned to the record labels, making posthumous releases a controversial concept.

Luckily, proceeds from Tim will end up elsewhere. After Avicii’s family gave the green light on releasing the project, they decided to donate the album sales to the Tim Bergling Foundation. The charity was founded by the Bergling family, shortly after Avicii’s death, to raise money and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. Avicii was known for his activism and charitable work for AIDS and hunger relief so there’s no surprise that the proceeds from his last project will help those in need.

It can be said without any doubt that Avicii lived his life on the basis of love. From his charity work to the messages revealed in his last project, love gave him hope and provided him with peace in a life that was extremely busy, mentally heavy, and overwhelming. While these might be the last tunes we ever get from Avicii, his legacy and impactful music will live on for years to come.

Read More: Wyclef Jean Reminisces About Working With Avicii

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