No one has forgotten how Avicii – one of the biggest names in the EDM scene – was found dead in Oman on April 20 2018, with his family later confirming that he had committed suicide. Almost exactly a year later, SOS – a track from the Swedish DJ’s posthumous album TIM – is taking the internet by storm.
Avicii, whose real name is Tim Bergling, was close to finishing his new album when he passed away. Thankfully, music composers Albin Nedler and Kristoffer Fogelmark helped to complete and produce what may very well be his last album ever.
His fingers would sometimes strike an unusual key, which added to his unique sound. Tim’s fingerprints are literally across the entirety of SOS.– Albin Nedler, co-composer of SOS
In producing SOS, Albin and Kristoffer used the program Fruity Loops to track and preserve Tim’s exact keystrokes. “He had a completely different way of playing piano and keyboard,” says Nedler. “As a result, his fingers would sometimes strike an unusual key, which added to his unique sound. Tim’s fingerprints are literally across the entirety of SOS.”
Aloe Blacc, who has also provided the vocals for Avicii’s Dance/Folk hit Wake Me Up, has also done the same in SOS. Fulfilling Tim’s wish to work with him once again, Aloe describes SOS as a song that “was probably ahead of its time” for when he wrote it. He said: “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.’”
As I listen to the track once more, I start to understand what Blacc means.
While the melodies in this track reflect Avicii’s upbeat yet refreshing music style from the later years prior to his death, the lyrics that the tune carried were rather rending. It is apparent from the get-go that the track was Avicii’s cry for help, as the song starts with “Can you hear me? S.O.S. Help me put my mind to rest”.
Tim’s stress and subsequent lack of rest or sleep – as well as his self-awareness over his need for help – is reflected in the second verse, “I get robbed of all my sleep as my thoughts begin to bleed. I’d let go, but I don’t know how. Yeah, I don’t know how, but I need to now”. Tim’s family have also shared with fans that Avicii had “worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress”.
We see a glimmer of hope in the choruses as the lyrics “I can feel your love pullin’ me up from the underground” speak of how the love of people around has helped him avoid that dark place within him. However, it also describes that he needed this love to be more than just a “one-time favour” in order to rid himself of his vices: “and I don’t need my drugs, we could be more than just part-time lovers”.
Learn more about the story behind SOS here:
TIM releases on 6 June 2019 and all proceeds will go to the Tim Bergling Foundation – a foundation set up by Tim’s family, which offers support to those suffering from mental health issues.
Cover Photo by Sean Eriksson