Almost one year after Avicii’s (whose real name is Tim Bergling) unexpected death, the DJ’s latest songs have been released.
Earlier this month, the meaningfully titled single SOS was released and the album titled TIM will follow on the 6th of June.
Bergling wrote the song texts in the months before he put an end to his life. Not only the title is alarming, but the rest of the lyrics also contain phrases which can now be interpreted as a being cry for help. So how do his loved ones perceive the hit song?
An unexpected ending
A question that might strike you is: did his loved ones foresee Tim’s death? No, an exclusive interview with his father, 12 friends and musical partners, among others, conducted by The New York Times shows that his suicide not only came unexpectedly to them, but that they perceived the months prior his death as being a good period time for the artist.
This is in stark contrast to the image painted in Netflix’s documentary Avicii: True Stories (which was, according to relatives, enthusiastically approved by Tim).
The documentary shows that the success and life in the spotlight were highly destructive for him and that he struggled with anxiety and excessive alcohol consumption.
This is why he decided to stop touring by the end of 2016 to fully focus on his love for producing music in the studio.
Tim hired a personal trainer, started meditating and set a ‘writing renaissance’ in motion.
Vincent Pontare, one of his creative partners, says this truly seemed to benefit him: “He was looking super good. We said, ‘the fire is back in him.”
Lyrics with a dark twist
Yet the lyrics written in this period have a dark side to them:
What do Avicii’s loved ones think about the message in SOS?
According to Per Sundin, an Executive at Universal Music Nordics, who offered him a record deal at the beginning of his career, lyrics with a dark message were not unusual.
“Tim always mixed the dark and the light.” The latest lyrics gave him a pause for thought. In the aforementioned interview he says:
“You go, ‘Oh, is this a metaphor?’ You can interpret the songs in different ways.”
90% of the material for the new album TIM was finalized when Bergling put an end to his life. The producers who he’d worked on the album with put the finishing touches to it. One of them, Carl Frank, hears a clear message in the lyrics:
“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.”
Before his passing, Tim had indicated that he wanted to work with Aloe Blacc again, the soul singer who also provided the vocals for the monster hit Wake Me Up. Blacc sang the lyrics of SOS with the hope that this message might help others:
“I feel like ‘SOS’ was a song that was probably ahead of its time for when he wrote it. He wrote these lyrics obviously about some of his battles and I think it’s a really important topic to approach and to share, especially with his visibility and his access to ears and hearts. To give people the words to be able to say ’I need help.”
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– SOS is written by Kristoffer Fogelmark / Kandi L. Burruss / Tameka Harris / Kevin Briggs / Albin Nedler / Tim Bergling / Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 2019.