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1 April, 2014@11:42 pm

While Avicii stunned audiences one year ago with a head-scratching Ultra Miami performance, it showed just how ahead of the rest of the game he was. While clueless youngsters had no idea what to make of these “instruments” that were being played live during his set, or the then unknown vocalists, the biggest mystery was the music itself. This was the live debut of unknown songs like “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother”, which left the crowd bewildered. But it was these same people who came back around months later to turn these songs into massive anthems for the producer, after they heard them in a controlled environment, neatly packaged on an album called True.

We’ll never know what Avicii had planned for his planned closing Ultra set this year, which was cancelled last minute, after having to undergo emergency surgery. Would he attempt to do the same thing over again, by breaking all new music before the Ultra audience? Perhaps he would give an encore of last year’s performance, one that would now be critically lauded, now that the audience was familiar with music of True? Or maybe he’d go back to basics, and give a slamming four-on-the-floor DJ set, packed with hits from his catalog, past and present?

If anything, had his performance not been cancelled, we imagine we would have heard something like True: Avicii By Avicii, his new remix album that revisits many of the cuts from last year’s debut, into new renditions. Expertly timed with the one-year anniversary of the much talked about Ultra performance, True: Avicii By Avicii is a victory lap, without directly saying “I told you so!”.

Each song on the original True has become an anthem, crossover hit, or defining album cut, so in one sense, its hard to tamper with greatness. The remix album almost cries of “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, yet most of these new renditions celebrate their original counterparts well. The best of these kicks the album off, with a more festival friendly version of “Wake Me Up”, which trades the original versions twang for a more classy piano driven house backdrop. This can be said for many of the new versions, such as “Addicted To You”, “Liar Liar” and especially “Lay Me Down”, each of which are more suited for the dancefloor, going for his more signature big room sounds, and less reliant on the live instrumentation of the original versions.

Hence the title, Avicii By Avicii is essentially how we’d expect to hear the songs of True in a DJ set. While the original versions of these tracks are musically superior, it is a little harder for those versions to blend in seamlessly with Avicii’s style of DJing. Just as Above & Beyond reimagined their catalog for an “unplugged” show, Avicii has done the opposite here, appropriately remixing each track for bright smiles and hands in the air. True indeed.

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