“In his own way, Avicii is like EDM’s Bob Dylan—a transformational figure who lent credence to a growing movement, only to realize that the whole affair was pretty bullshit and walk away from it all.” – Drew Millard, THUMP
Millard makes a damn good point, and this entire article makes a solid case of where Tim Bergling, AKA Avicii, stands within electronic dance music.
Using Bob Dylan’s near god-like status in the golden days of folk as a lens to analyze Avicii’s career is bold, but makes total sense at the end.
And it’s not like Millard is purporting the two are equal, no… in fact, the dramatic contrasts between Bergling and Dylan provide a brilliant exaggeration to help understand Bergling’s retirement.
For the most part, two major themes come to life in this comparison: Bob Dylan’s motorcycle crash in 1966 was a convenient means of taking a break from his amphetamine-fueled schedule until he returned en force in 1973. The same goes for Avicii’s struggle with alcoholism and subsequent health concerns, however, Bergling hasn’t had the same opportunity to hide his dwindling health behind an accident.
Additionally, Dylan’s break afforded him the chance to explore without hindrance and return with recordings like Nashville Skyline and The Basement Tapes. Maybe we’ll see the same boundless creativity from a post-tour Avicii as we did when he first sprang onto the scene.
Regardless, the times are so incomprehensibly different between these two that it’s impossible to directly compare and contrast their careers. On one hand, you have an expressive, genre-defying artist, and on the other, you have an artist who stands as the personification of a highly profitable brand/ideal.
“Dylan remains one of today’s most respected musicians because of the perceived artistic depth that fueled his work. […] Avicii became one of EDM’s biggest stars because of his ability be a flawless cog in an economic machine [of a] $6.9 billion industry.”