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Tim Review

by Neil Z. Yeung

On April 20, 2018, the world lost Tim Bergling, better known as EDM crossover hitmaker Avicii. Over a year after his death, the first posthumous collection of music was released as Tim. Backed by his family and completed by a team of producer friends, the set serves as a decent memorial to one of the most popular electronic acts of the 2010s. While much of the album still feels unfinished -- versions of these songs were recorded between January and April of 2018 -- Bergling's final thoughts and sonic visions are handled respectfully, though with varying results. There are only a handful of moments that match his festival-shaking peak, while the rest of the album relies on passable EDM-pop stylized in the vein of acts like Zedd, Seeb, and Marshmello. Of the production teams, Vincent Pontare and Salem Al Fakir (aka Vargas & Lagola) deliver the best product, elevating "Peace of Mind," "Tough Love," and "Excuse Me Mr Sir" above the pack. A generic middle stretch is bookended by Tim's other highlights, which benefit from a group of high-profile guest stars, of which there are two clear standouts. Incidentally, these songs are also the most recognizably "Avicii," likely owing to the fact that they were the most complete at the time of his death. The first is the uplifting anthem "Heaven," which features Chris Martin. Recorded during the same sessions as Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars," it's the sonic sequel to that 2014 hit single, soaring into the titular ether with its joyous melody and Martin's ever-inspirational vocals. On the other end of the spectrum is "Heart Upon My Sleeve," which takes an urgent instrumental from 2013's True and slaps Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds' aggressive and tortured growls over chest-rumbling bass and ominous drops. It's the one song on Tim that feels most like a classic Avicii track. Elsewhere, Aloe Blacc -- of "Wake Me Up" fame -- returns to honor his late friend with "SOS," a serviceable jam whose playful production belies pained lyrics. On bittersweet closer "Fades Away," Avicii veteran Noonie Bao bids him farewell with swelling orchestral heft and a trademark Avicii beat as she sings "Don't you love it how it all/It all just fades away." It's a sad but appropriate way to end Tim, a project of love that allows those closest to him to extend his legacy, while giving fans a way to mourn him in a manner he might have preferred: dancing with open arms toward a more hopeful tomorrow.

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