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2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Dance Recording for "Levels"
If you look at a picture of Avicii (Tim Bergling), he really looks like your average Joe, easy-going guy. In reality, he's a Swedish guy who's ranked one of the top DJs in the world today.
Today, we're going to hear a couple of versions of what has been his most famous song to date. There's an Etta James vocal sample (which was also used by Pretty Lights for "Finally Moving," as well as by Flo Rida in "Good Feeling." And, fun fact, Greig Stewart performed this song on laser harp (huh?) for "Britain's Got Talent."
So we start this 4-song set off with "Levels." Just "Levels." The other variations are on their way. The drums hit you right in the face as soon as you press play. You get a very quick up and down beeping as it goes on, only giving over to a fade about a minute or so in. Oh shit son, there's the Flo Rida sound - the synth takes over and brings on the familiar melody. For the second minute, you get the two first elements thrown together. There's a nice in and out sound… and, whoa, there's the actual vocal line from "Good Feeling." Okay, that I didn't expect. I bet if anyone heard this without knowing it in fact came first, they'd suppose this was some club version on the song "Good Feeling." I know that's what I keep thinking.
Okay so "Levels - Cazzette's NYC Mode Mix" (w/ Cazzette) just goes off with this very very steady beat, and then some noise plays over that, almost sounding like a pop-up came up on my computer and is playing something out of the blue over it. Whatever came in there had absolutely no sound of being necessary there. None, you hear me? At least we get the same voice this time, though it gets dragged out impossibly far. I love the harder-hitting sound in the backing around the two minute mark, but everything around it otherwise just destroys this version too.
"Levels - Instrumental" rounds out the album. All I'm expecting here is the same as we began, sans the words themselves. And at this point, I don't know that my memory is all that great, but I believe that's what we're getting. So, the same opening minutes' comments stand. It's around the 3:00 mark you realize the words aren't there, as an "oooooh" is going on in the background, which you'd expect to launch into "Ooooh, sometimes I get a good feeling," but here, it just remains. I guess I never realized that that sound could be from a machine and not a voice. The sounds still remain lovely though, for something devoid of words.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Levels - Instrumental"
So, I'm left smiling here. I didn't know the roots of the Flo Rida song, nor did I totally care. However, this was pretty cool to hear and reach back to. And even standing on its own, Avicii created a pretty great track here, utilizing a nice mix of sounds and levels throughout, creating something that really moves well.