A few days ago, I wrote about my top five unreleased Avicii songs, as I felt the world could use them as a distraction from everything that I was going on. With the election currently all but determined, that stress is gone. But, no matter what side you’re on, you probably have some strong feelings about how it ended up. You’re either celebrating or irate. Given this and the fact that I ranked unreleased songs on Wednesday, I figured it was only appropriate to rank my top released songs today. Instead of five though, I’ll be doing 15, as I had a hard enough time whittling it down that far. As a result, so many of these songs are close in my ranking, so take the final positioning lightly outside of perhaps the top three. All of these songs can be found anywhere you get your music.
15. Wake Me Up
Kicking off my list is “Wake Me Up” at number 15. It’s off his first album, True, and features the uncredited vocals of Aloe Blacc. The only reason this song is ranked last on my list is its popularity. Avicii has so many good songs, and I felt as though I should place lesser-known ones higher because they deserve to be recognized more.
But anyway, “Wake Me Up” is perhaps Avicii’s most widely known song. It was met with a mixed reception when he debuted it at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2013, as it blends country and EDM. That doesn’t seem like it should work, but it really does. Despite its initially mixed reception, it became an inescapable hit in the summer of 2013 and was Avicii’s first crossover onto pop radio. As a result, it set the stage for Avicii to cross country and EDM a lot more in his career. “Levels” gave him a huge platform in the dance community, but “Wake Me Up” is the song that made him into a genre-bending star.
Much like “Wake Me Up,” the only reason “Levels” finds itself so low on my list is the fact that it’s so widely known. Otherwise, I would’ve put it much higher. But anyway, as I briefly mentioned above, “Levels” is the song that gave Avicii a name. It’s his signature song, and considered by some critics as one of the greatest songs of all time. It set the stage for the new generation of club music. Its’ synth riff is instantly recognizable, and about midway through it samples the intro to Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.” Even though “Wake Me Up” saw more widespread commercial success, “Levels” is Avicii’s career-defining song.
13. Ten More Days
Next up is “Ten More Days” at number 13. It’s off his second album, Stories, and features the uncredited vocals of Zak Abel. “Ten More Days” finds the speaker singing about how in ten more days, they can finally rest after a long struggle. Abel’s vocals and the loud, deep beat make this a very powerful song, and it resonates with anyone who’s sick of fighting, regardless of what that fight may be. Overall, it’s an outstanding song, and well worth the listen!
12. Lay Me Down
At number 12 on my list is “Lay Me Down,” which comes off Avicii’s first album, True. It features the uncredited vocals of Adam Lambert. It’s a song about love and lust and has an infectious beat that can get anyone dancing. Lambert’s vocals complement Avicii’s production perfectly as well. It saw some commercial success, peaking at number 22 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in the US, but frankly deserved better than that. Overall, it’s an excellent song that easily gets stuck in your head, which gives people the perfect excuse just to listen to it more.
11. Long Road to Hell
Next up on my list is “Long Road to Hell” at number 11. It comes off the bonus edition of True and features the uncredited vocals of Audra Mae. The lyrics are dark, as the speaker sings about someone selling their soul to the devil in some way, and that “it’s a long road to hell without no soul”. The melody of the song is infectious, and the kazoo, which comes in after every chorus, is amazing. It’s certainly not every day you find a kazoo in an EDM song, but trust me, it works. This song is slept on by a lot of fans given it was only available on iTunes or YouTube until this year when they put the extended edition of True up on all streaming platforms. So, hopefully now it gets the attention it deserves.
An oft-forgotten track unless you’re a huge fan, “Trouble” comes in at number ten on my list. It comes off Stories and features the uncredited vocals of Wayne Hector. “Trouble” is a highly relatable song about how the speaker has come a long way so far in their life, but still has a long way to go. Its beat is lighthearted and infectious, and Hector’s vocals are perfect for the song. In my opinion, “Trouble” is one of the most underrated Avicii songs. I highly recommend giving it a listen if you’ve never heard it.
9. Sunset Jesus
“Sunset Jesus” finds itself at number nine on my list. This song comes off Stories and features the uncredited vocals of Gavin DeGraw. The song, which is based on a real-life person who wanders Sunset Boulevard dressed as Jesus, sees the speaker reflecting on his dreams of fame. They use “Sunset Jesus,” as he’s called, as a symbol of the fear he holds that he’ll never be able to reach them. DeGraw’s country twang combine with q deep, booming beat during the verses and synth and pianos throughout the rest. All of this makes for a fun, memorable song that’s one of my favorites.
8. Never Leave Me (ft. Joe Janiak)
Coming in at number eight is “Never Leave Me,” which is off his posthumous album TIM. It features Joe Janiak, who was luckily able to record it before Tim’s passing. This song, written just days before his passing, is a love song. According to Albin Nedler and Kristoffer Fogelmark, who co-wrote and co-produced the song with Avicii, he was extremely inspired while writing this track and spent all day with it. It’s a beautiful love song, and you can really feel the joy and passion that was put into it. That’s why it’s one of my favorites. It’s just such an infectiously feel-good song that you can’t help but smile when you listen to it.
7. The Nights
The only reason why “The Nights” fell out of the top five is its’ success. Like I explained with “Wake Me Up” and “Levels,” I feel that lesser known songs should get more recognition. So, that’s why I rank the more successful ones lower than I probably would otherwise. There are just so many of the songs are so close for me that it’s the only way I could choose. But, I couldn’t bring myself to knock it down any further, as it’s truly one of my favorite songs.
If you can listen to “The Nights” and not want to sing and dance along, I’m not sure I can trust you. It comes off the EP, The Days/The Nights and features the uncredited vocals of Nick Furlong. Much like “Never Leave Me,” it’s a feel-good song that you just can’t help but smile when listening to. This song is all about liviing life to its’ fullest. It’s sweeping chorus, fast-paced verses, and building bridge combine with it’s infectious beat drop to create an amazing song.
6. Friend of Mine (ft. Vargas and Lagola)
The only reason “Friend of Mine” fell out of the top five is its commercial success. Coming off the AVICI (01) EP, “Friend of Mine” features Avicii’s frequent collaborrators Vargas and Lagola, a Swedish duo who’s real names are Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare. The songs chronicles the love story of two people who met young, grew apart, and then fell in love and spent their lives together. It finds them reflecting on how they wouldn’t be who they are today had they never met this person. Vargas and Lagola’s vocals are perfect for the song, and the beat is fun and catchy. As I said earlier, it found a lot of commercial success, hence why it got knocked down the list. However, if it weren’t for that, it would be in the top five, as it’s definitely one of my favorites.
5. Shame on Me
I dare you not to feel the urge to get up and dance when you listen to “Shame on Me,” which comes in at number five on my list. It hails from True and features the uncredited vocals of Sterling Fox and Audra Mae. Right from the beginning, the beat is infectious and funky, and then when the bass really kicks in, it’s even better. The song features the two speakers singing about how someone they loved wronged them, and how they’re ashamed they ever loved them now. It’s an excellent song that is highly relatable as well, as unfortunately everyone has that one person that was in their lives they’d rather forget now. Overall, it’s just an infectious song that’s a great release in more ways than one. It should be a lot more widely known than it is.
4. Broken Arrows
Next up on my list at number four is “Broken Arrows.” Another song off of Stories, this one features the uncredited vocals of Zac Brown. Combining thumping bass with synth and Brown’s soulful, country voice, “Broken Arrows” is a powerful song. It finds the speaker battling some inner demons, but holding onto hope that they will come out on the other side of it. It was always a poignant song, but it hits even harder now knowing the struggles that Avicii himself faced that eventually led to him committing suicide. But, it’s a truly beautiful song that, as you can see, is a favorite of mine.
3. Fade Into Darkness
To find “Fade Into Darkness,” you’ll have to go way back in Avicii’s discography. Coming out before even before “Levels”, it was only released as a single. It features the uncredited vocals of Andreas Moe. But, just because it came out before he found success doesn’t mean it isn’t incredible. Clearly, I think extremely high of it putting it in my top three. The song finds the speaker singing about how everything will be ok because he and his significant other have each other, and because of that they’ll never fade into oblivion. It’s beat is fun and catchy, which contrasts a bit with the sweet lyrics. But, it works perfectly to create an incredible song that, like many others on this sit, should be more widely known than it is.
2. Without You (ft. Sandro Cavazza)
For the last two songs on my list, I’m breaking my own rule. While previously I’d knocked songs down because of their commercial success, I just can’t do that with these two. They are my clear cut favorites. “Without You” is not only one of my favorite Avicii songs, but favorite songs period. It comes off the AVICI (01) EP, and features frequent collaborator Sandro Cavazza. The song finds the speaker going through a breakup, and talking about how he has to find himself again with his newfound freedom. Featuring a catchy chorus and great beat and Cavazza’s always-amazing vocals, “Without You” is just a truly incredible song, and it truly deserves all the success it’s found.
1. Hey Brother
Finally, “Hey Brother” comes in at number one on my list. Not only is it my favorite Avicii song, but if I had to pick a favorite song of all time, this would be it. I could listen to it on repeat forever and never get sick of it. Hailing off of True, “Hey Brother” features the vocals of the legendary bluegrass singer Dan Tyminski. The song is about family and how the bonds between them cannot be broken by anything. It’s a bluesy, country influenced song that features a classic Avicii build to the bass drop, and Tyminski’s bluegrass vocals are just perfect for it. It saw commercial success too, as it deserved. I can’t quite place my finger on what exactly makes this song so special to me, as it’s just overall an absolutely amazing song. It’s without a doubt my favorite Avicii song, and like I said earlier, probably my favorite song of all time.
Even Narrowing It Down to 15 Was Insanely Hard
While 15 songs seems like a lot, even narrowing it down this much was insanely hard. There isn’t a single song in Avicii’s discography that I can say I dislike, and there’s so many more that I love that I couldn’t include here. To name a few, there’s “Dear Boy,” “Seek Bromance,” “Talk to Myself,” “Can’t Catch Me,” and “Hold the Line (ft. ARIZONA). But, that certainly isn’t all of them. If you like what you hear here, be sure to check out all of Avicii’s music. It’s all worth the listen, so you won’t regret it. What’s your favorite Avicii song? Let me know either on Twitter or in the comments!
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured Image courtesy of Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
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