Avicii may have retired from touring, he may have just announced a break with his long-time manager who helped make him a superstar and he may be one of the most media-shy DJs on the planet Earth, but the 27-year-old Swede is and will always be one of the most recognizable and omnipotent electronic dance producers the genre has ever seen.
Born Tim Bergling, Avicii is the only DJ who could mix Country-Western styles with EDM and not just get away with it but find smashing success. He took Etta James‘ already iconic “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” vocals on and turned them into a generational anthem for “Levels.” He’s released bunches of international hits, but even his deeper cuts resonate across the spectrum of listeners.
Even when he’s being cheesy, it’s the kind of cheese you wanna cover your fries in and just give yourself heartburn shoving down your own throat. You just can’t really knock the guy for anything (unless your deadmau5, but he knocks everyone).
It’s hard to argue with great, catchy pop music and he’s made some of the dance world’s best. Here’s a list of the 10 best Avicii songs to date.
10. Avicii – “Street Dancer”
This 2011 tune isn’t as famous as some other Avicii songs. It only charted in the Netherlands, but it’s one of the producer’s most unique pieces to date. It’s got a harder edge than most of his compositions and a decidedly ’80s tropical tinge, like neon palm trees on a Miami Vice set. It samples Break Machine’s 1983 track “Street Dance,” which explains that retro flair. If you’ve never heard this deep cut, definitely give it a go.
9. Avicii – “My Feelings For You” feat. Sebastian Drums
This track is a super disco inferno, hunk of burning dance floor glory. It might not have charted as strong as some other Avicii songs, but it’s definitely a crowd favorite. Even hipster DJs were dropping this one every week when it came out. Maybe that’s because it’s technically a remix of a song from French band Cassius and, you know, hipsters love French music.
8. Avicii – “Without You” feat. Sandro Cavazza
“Without You” arrives on Avicii’s six-track EP Av?ci (01) and sports a catchy melody with zippy synths reminiscent of his country-pop sound. The record features Swedish singer-songwriter Sandro Cavazza who Avicii also remixed and included on his EP.
7. Avicii – “Hey Brother”
Avicii’s album True was really out to show the world just how inclusive dance music could be. You’ve never heard such glistening country pop as you have on True, and “Hey Brother” is one of the twangiest dance floor favorites to ever grace the festival circuit. Singer Dan Tyminski brings the heavy bluegrass element over Avicii’s four-on-the-floor and brightly glowing synths. Fair warning, the music video is liable to make you cry.
6. Tim Berg – “Seek Bromance”
This classic jam is so old school that Avicii wasn’t even called Avicii when it was released — he was still known as Tim Berg. Yet, we all remember “Seek Bromance” as one of the best songs in Avicii’s catalog. It charted in 20 countries and reached number one on the Billboard Dance Clubs Songs list. Now six years after its release, you can hear how influential its been to every damn feel-good house song that came after.
5. Avicii – “Silhouettes”
There’s something so undeniable about this pumping beat, this misty melody, and Swedish singer Salem Al Fakir’s smoky vocals. It just gives us a warm, cozy feeling listening to it. Maybe it’s also partially nostalgia for 2011 when everyone was first swept up in Avicii mania. This was one of those songs that, even if you acted like you didn’t like it at the time, you find yourself fist pumping to in no time.
4. Avicii – “I Could Be The One” feat. Nicky Romero
This hook became one of the most recognizable melodies of 2012 almost instantly. This song flickers between indulgently sweet and absolutely bangerific. Fun fact: the instrumental version once featured a sample of Justice‘s seminal anthem “D.A.N.C.E.,” though the sample was removed for the final version fans know and love. It was a total smash, charting in 22 countries and hitting four Billboard charts, peaking the US Dance Clubs list before it was finished.
3. Avicii – “Fade Into Darkness”
Did you even realize “Fade Into Darkness” predates “Levels?” Sometimes we forget there was an Avicii before that song took over the whole world. Listening to this tune today, we can hear a lot of that country-western influence just begging to bubble up to the surface. Replace the piano with acoustic guitar and it could totally be one of those cross-genre hits.
2. Avicii – “Wake Me Up”
We will never forget the collective head-scratch moment that hit Ultra Music Festival in Miami when Avicii first debuted this song. No one had ever even conceived of melding country music with electronic dance until Avicii showed people the way.
1. Avicii – “Levels”
Does this Avicii song really need an explanation? It’s quite possibly one of the biggest dance music songs ever recorded. It’s the modern-day equivalent of “Sandstorm” or “Kernkraft 400.” It’s immediately recognizable, and you will never get it out of your head until you are buried — and maybe not even then. It gave a new generation a reason to mourn the loss of Etta James, was a top ten hit in 15 countries and topped the charts in both Avicii’s homeland of Sweden and the United States. You could still drop it at any party and watch the place go off. “Levels” is timeless, it is universal, it is love.