Avicii, “Stories” (Island)
Avicii, the Swedish DJ, producer and mega-hit maker, is out with his second major studio album “Stories,” which arrives feeling like a move toward minimalism within an electronic dance music genre predicated on bigger and bolder sounds. If this is a safe route, Avicii might have avoided it.
Avicii — Tim Bergling in real life — has seen fit to largely eschew the by-the-book crescendos have become commonplace on hit-seeking EDM tracks. He implores the listeners to hear more individual instruments, piano and guitar, and listen for the story on “Stories.” It’s an admirable artistic attempt, but falls mostly flat as the album lacks the punch of a signature song.
“Stories” gets close to the mark with “Broken Arrows,” featuring stellar vocals from Georgia-hewn country star Zac Brown. Even better is “True Believer,” featuring vocals and piano by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Both tracks are solid and will surely benefit further from lush remixes to come.
Unfortunately, what we get on “Stories” isn’t enough. The tracks aren’t crafty enough to be experimental and are too plodding to get the blood pumping. With his hits “Levels” and “Wake Me Up” behind him, this is an underwhelming next step forward for Avicii.
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