Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Mina, May 6, 2018.
Haven't even started yet.
But you are doing it, definitely?
We just don't know.
You'll get numbers. You can then decide if you want to keep them.
Maybe we can work together to come up with a multiplier (or possibly exponential) to apply uniformly to your scores xx.
(I kid. I'm sure it'll be fine.)
Has anyone discovered and new favorites (or least favorites) so far?
I didn't give out any zeroes, but I did give out a 2.
Album Spotlight: Stories
In many ways, Stories feels like a mainstream pop/dance record. Many of the songwriters and vocalists on this album are mainstream pop names - Chris Martin (Coldplay), Robbie Williams (Take That), and Gavin DeGraw, just to name a few. Released as Avicii’s second (and final) full length studio album in 2015 (after 2013’s True), this album was the result of two years of work as well as other big-name collaborations (Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Jon Bon Jovi) that either didn’t come to fruition or didn’t make the final album. Stories features four official single releases - its best-known track Waiting for Love, followed by For a Better Day, Pure Grinding, and Broken Arrows, though I’d argue that some of the standout tracks came from the remainder of the album. Some highlights below:
We are one of a kind, irreplaceable
How did I get so blind and so cynical?
If there's love in this life we're unstoppable
No we can't be defeated
Waiting for Love, featuring vocals from Simon Aldred (Cherry Ghost) and co-written by Aldred, Avicii, and others, is the album’s first single. One of Avicii’s more upbeat songs (both in tempo and in message), its message is one of encouraging hope and persistence through hard times until something meaningful comes along. In addition to an official lyric animated video, it features an official music video depicting the story of an elderly man who has seemingly given up on life after losing his partner, until he consciously moves past this negative self-narrative to regain a reason for living. Chartwise, the single was a #6 UK platinum hit (#56 on the 2015 year-end charts), earned a gold certification in the US, and made the top 10/20 of many European and Oceanic charts.
And we sang our song for the little thing
Magic calm, but the joy you bring
Running it down the line
Wish you could find that love is a fragile thing
Magic calm from a pretty thing
Maybe it might be time
For a better day
Featuring what might be the darkest subject matter in an Avicii video ever (human trafficking) as well as the most poetic lyrics in any Avicii song, For a Better Day was co-written and co-produced by Avicii and singer Alex Ebert (Ima Robot, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros). The second single from Stories, it failed to live up to the commercial success of Waiting for Love, peaking at #68 on the UK Singles Chart, and achieving less impressive chartings across Europe.
Now as you wade through the shadows that live in your heart
You'll find the light that leads on
'Cause I see you for you and your beautiful scars
So take my hand, don't let go
Broken Arrows is the final (and in my opinion, best) single release from Stories. It features the same dance/country fusion evident in Wake Me Up and Hey Brother, with a vocal and co-writing credit from Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band. The music video is (very) loosely inspired by the story of American 1968 gold medalist in high jump Dick Fosbury, who pioneered the technique of leaping backwards over the high bar rather than jumping forward, known as the Fosbury Flop. In an unfortunate case of life imitating art, the single itself was a commercial flop, peaking at #168 on the UK Singles Chart (though a #1 hit in Hungary and the Belgium dance chart, apparently).
My dreams are made of gold
My heart's been broken and I'm down along the road
But I know, my dreams keep fading till I get old
Breathe for a minute, breathe for a minute, I'll be okay
Sunset Jesus takes the cliché of leaving our home and trying to “make it” in Hollywood (or anywhere, really, for those of us who have “a dream that’s so much bigger than the town [we’re] in”) and spins it into a dark fairytale (“California, don’t let me down / Seems so golden, but there’s struggle all around / Sunset Jesus came to me / He once was a waiter, now he’s a savior, making money on the street”) with occasional glimmers of hope. The song features uncredited vocals from Gavin DeGraw (every CW show ever), as well as a large writing team of probably-familiar names including DeGraw, Dhani from the A*Teens, and Mike Posner.
Strange how the same place I ran from
Is the same place I think of whenever the chance comes
It's inevitable, ‘cause wherever I go
I hear echoes of a thousand screams
As I lay me down to sleep
There's a black hole deep inside of me
Reminding me, that I've lost my backbone
Somewhere in Stockholm
Directly contrasting with the escapism of Sunset Jesus is Somewhere in Stockholm, a song about simultaneously running away from and feeling magnetically drawn back to the place where you’re from. Featuring uncredited vocals from fellow Swede Daniel Adams-Ray and co-written by Avicii, Adams-Ray, and others, it’s perhaps Avicii’s most autobiographical song. Reading through its lyrics after Avicii’s untimely death is a bit chilling, referencing both Avicii’s issues with alcohol abuse (“I’m from a place where we never openly show our emotions / We drown our sorrows in bottomless bottles and leave them to float in the ocean”) and his belief that didn’t come to pass that “Right where I was founded / Is right where I’ll be found dead.” It’s a love letter to his hometown of Stockholm with a dark undercurrent, reminiscent to me of ABBA’s classic “Under Attack” in which one’s lover is simultaneously also one’s worst enemy. The production of the song is also very ABBA-like to me.
Two and a half weeks left to vote, y'all.
Also, is there anything I could be doing to to better for you to encourage discussion to keep the thread active?
Wait, Gavin DeGraw is on this album? Ooh. *cue me being the only one to give his vocals a good score*
Thanks for these writeups! I’m really enjoying them. Once PJSC voting kicks off I’ll have a bit more time to listen to all of the songs properly.
Also, Dhani has a writing credit on this album?
Indeed! For much of the music released under the Avicii banner until 2017, there are many recognizable names as vocalists/writers/producers that went largely uncredited. A few examples:
Lay Me Down (from True) - performed and cowritten by Adam Lambert
Dear Boy (from True) - performed and cowritten by MØ
The Days - performed and cowritten by Robbie Williams, with Brandon Flowers of The Killers (@2014 @2014 @2014) also credited as a backing vocalist and cowriter (some sources)
True Believer (from Stories) - performed and cowritten by Chris Martin of Coldplay
Sunset Jesus (from Stories) - performed and cowritten by Gavin DeGraw
Can't Catch Me (from Stories) - performed and cowritten by Wyclef Jean
I Could Be the One + Always on the Run (from True) + City Lights (from Stories) - performed by Noonie Bao
And this is all before the Rita Ora era in which vocalists started to be listed as featured acts on the main credits.
And Dhani has three cowriting credits on Avicii tracks, I believe. Sunset Jesus, Gonna Love Ya, and Without You (which is a bop that @iheartpoptarts would hopefully enjoy):
@Mina I’m still doing this but I forgot I promised to do the SHINee rate as well. Oops.
Anyways, I’ve always wondered if Avicii was the main lyricist for his tracks?
I'm actually not sure, but I'm trying to read more about what the writing process was like for Avicii's songs! When looking at writing credits for his albums, there are often 5+ names listed per song (with Avicii almost always listed first - though I don't know if that means he was the primary writer or just listed himself first since they were his albums), including the vocalist more often than not, though the producing credits section is pretty much just Avicii and maybe one other person. I know Avicii started out as producer and was known for connecting and collaborating with all kinds of names in the music industry, and that he was fluent in English but to me came across as somewhat hesitant in his speaking style in interviews (though that may have been partially or mostly due to his being pretty introverted). So I'm unclear how major or minor his role was in writing the lyrics, versus in other components of songwriting like composing the melody, the song structure, etc.
Similarly, I find his videography so interesting and ahead of its time (particularly for videos like Silhouettes, which came in 2012 and features the storyline of an individual undergoing male-to-female sex reassignment surgery), but I don't know if the concepts were his own or if he just surrounded himself with really creative people who came up with and executed those sorts of ideas.
It was brought to my attention that @WowWowWowWow 's UK #2s of the '00s rate also includes the apparently not as criminally underrated as I thougt masterpiece that is Rapture (under its original release as an iiO song, whereas this list includes the Avicii remix of the Nadia Ali solo release). What are the chances of that?!
I love this song. I love the original but this somehow more.
Glad to hear that! It's performed by Audra Mae, who was probably the female singer Avicii used the most, including in songs like:
(Though I suspect team R&BJustice may prefer a different cover:)
I started listening to the Spotify playlist today and realised I actually like a lot of these songs a lot more than I thought I did. Looking forward to actually scoring them!
Glad to hear that! Are you listening in chronological order (which is largely how I constructed the Spotify playlist) or shuffling?
In order for now. I think I’ve been lowkey aware of several songs without ever consciously going back to them, but revisiting them has been quite fun.
That's good to hear!
I'm curious as to what you'll think of his later work (from the Stories album onward) once you get there.
This is a two week reminder - ballots are due on Thursday, May 31 at 11:59 PM UK time. I would be absolutely thrilled if you could participate - remember, only 46 songs, and commentary is optional!
I'm tagging you because you've previously expressed interest or liked a post in this thread. If you're still on the fence, please do check out my album spotlights for Avicii's most recent releases - Stories and Avīci (01) - you might be pleasantly surprised!
Separate names with a comma.