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  • Writer's pictureAmit Banerjee

Avicii, the one who made it cool to like electronic music

On Friday, the world lost a pioneer in electronic music. Tim Bergling, who went by the stage name Avicii passed away due to health complications possibly related to his pancreatitis.

I am a fan of Avicii's music, but I didn't start that way. Flashback to 2010: I was an avid user of apps like iHeartRadio and Pandora. I used those platforms to listen to a lot of popular music and was very well-versed with the Top 40 lists of each week. But the genre that these apps helped me fall in love with most was electronic music.

There was something I found mystifying in the music that made me want to keep listening. Few to no words are sung. Everything relies on the rhythm of the sounds that are digitally produced. Within a few month of active listening, I knew all of the intricate differences between what categorized a song as House music or EDM or Electronica or Trance. To me, listening to electronic music wasn't just jamming out to a fun song. To me, listening to electronic music was an auditory experience unlike anything else.

I was a music snob. I didn't like songs that considered themselves "electronic", yet sounded like a regular Top 40 song. And Avicii was one of the best at making the perfect mixes between electronic and pop music. I hated it. But I knew what he was doing was important for the genre. His songs like Levels, Silhouettes, Wake Me Up, and Hey Brother were essential in letting artists like Martin Garrix, Skrillex, and The Chainsmokers rise to the level of fame that they did because Avicii made electronic music cool.

The music snob in me didn't want more people to hear the music I enjoyed it. But I also wanted everyone to enjoy the stuff that I enjoyed. Eventually, I got off my musical high horse, and fully appreciated Avicii's work to elevate the status of electronic music.

Avicii took electronic music from a niche genre to the defining foundation to most hip-hop and pop songs today. Avicii's talent to cross genres brought the songs that I liked to the mainstream, which today I don't have a problem with. The more people that can enjoy something good, the better. Avicii made our shared music experiences better. It's a tragedy that we won't be hearing more music from him, but I'm glad that he paved the way for so many up and coming electronic artists to continue his legacy.

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