Avicii working in the studio.
Avicii working in the studio. Stockholm, Sweden. 2017 - Credits : Avicii

Precisions about Avicii final album ” Tim “

Alexandre Trochut

Earlier this month, the New York Times has met Avicii’ family, friends and producers who worked on ” Tim ” to learn more, here’s the essentials to know.


” Tim ” is an unfinished album

Tim ” is not a posthumous collection of musical leftovers, it’s a concentration of songs that Avicii was far into writing and producing during the last three months of his life. For the last six months, the music producer Carl Falk has been venturing into his dark and cloistered recording studio in central Stockholm to finish the album, feeling like he was working with a ghost as he stated :


“ I was trying to produce through someone else’s eyes and ears — someone who’s not here. It was really hard not to criticize yourself the whole time. Would he like this? What would he have done? ”

– Carl Falk


Most importantly, Avicii wanted these songs to come out into a future album, say his friends. Together, the sounds and sentiments they offer represent a cohesive and striking leap ahead for a musician already known as one of the most impactful innovators in electronic pop of the last decade.


Lyrics that resonate deeply

For the new single, “SOS,” he wrote lines that Aloe Blacc, the vocalist on “Wake Me Up,” sings with special urgency: “Can you hear me, S.O.S./help me put my mind to rest.

Even in light of the new lyrics of “Tim” tracks, his friends chose not to linger long and especially not to take them as clues explaining the suicide of the artist. None of the people who heard those lyrics at the time found special meaning in them.

To confuse matters, darkness had been an element in Avicii’s music from the opening song on his debut album, “True.” “Wake Me Up,” a No. 1 smash in nine countries and a Top 5 hit in America, finds its narrator experiencing the precise inverse of the redemptive refrain from “Amazing Grace” — believing he’s found, only to discover that he is, in fact, lost.


“ Tim always mixed the dark and the light ”

– Per Sundin, Managing Director at Universal Music Nordic


Avicii had left notes of the artistic direction

The producers say most songs were 75 to 80 percent done by the time of Avicii’s death. To fill in the rest, they relied on detailed notes Tim left on his phone and computer, some of which were written in his final days. It fell to Christopher Thordson, from the artist’s management team, to search all his devices for information.


“He wrote very specific things about the music.”

 Christopher Thordson, Avicii management team


An album that respect Avicii’s artistic vision

While the new music presents many new angles to prospect, the executives artists that managed the production of ” Tim ” insisted that they eschew the more commercial route of recruiting superstar guest stars to, instead, use only longtime Avicii collaborators, including Kristoffer Fogelmark and Albin Nedler, Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare.

Avicii’s collaborators Albin Nedler and Kristoffer Fogelmark in the studio. Stockholm, Sweden. 2019 – Credits : Elisabeth Ubbe for The New York Times

Even the top name involved, Chris Martin of Coldplay — who sang a new song that leaked last year, “Heaven” — had sung and helped write a 2015 Avicii track, “True Believer.” The second mandate for the record was to keep as close to the demos the artist left as possible.


” One track planned for the album got pulled at the last minute because it had developed too far from Tim’s vision.”

– Per Sundin, Managing Director at Universal Music Nordic


Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare in their studio. Stockholm, Sweden. 2019 – Credits : Elisabeth Ubbe for The New York Times


An album as a testament?

Unlike Avicii’ friends, after working on ” Tim ” during the last 6 months, Carl Falk remains haunted by the lyrics of the new tracks and think instead that this album is very unique and totally different from Avicii’ previous ones.

“ This was a different Tim, a Tim that wanted to say something. Now, when I listen, I hear a lonely person with a lot of big emotions that he didn’t have enough people to talk to about, I feel this music was his way of getting some of that out. That makes this a really important record. Whatever Tim wanted to say is here. ”

 – Carl Falk


Because if a year later, his death always leaves us in distress, and we need certainties, the proof that he was making music to make us happy is there, such an obviousness. Fans around the world can just remember the words that Tim had left them shortly before making the decision to go back to the studio to work on this album.


“ We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters the most to us. For me it’s creating music. That is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do. Last year I quit performing live, and many of you thought that was it. But the end of live never meant the end of Avicii or my music. Instead, I went back to the place where it all made sense – the studio. The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. ”

– Avicii


Photos of Tim at Bergling’ family appartment. Stockholm, Sweden. 2019 – Credits : Elisabeth Ubbe for The New York Times



Source : Jim Farber for The New York Times