In the hours following the news of the death of Tim Berlinging – the Swedish DJ and producer known worldwide as Avicii, who was found dead yesterday in Muscat, Oman – I was intrigued by social media testimonials focused on the experience that resulted from listening to "Levels" and his other singles, who celebrated their relationship to the artist's work rather than to the (mostly unrecognizable, sometimes by design) artist himself. This is not to say that people honor him wrong way, quite the contrary. There is a kind of beauty that puts its mark on the world as someone who has helped to create lasting memories for others ̵
Part of what made Bergling's success as Avicii – and thus his many colleagues – so fascinating and so absolutely defining for this decade was that you could enjoy your music to the fullest without knowing your real name ever looked. That's not to say that he was in any way anonymous (he was even the face of a Ralph Lauren campaign in 2013), but his biggest singles – 2011 unbeatable "levels" and the countrified 2013 Aloe Blacc collaboration "Wake Me Up "- a level of ubiquity on the top 40 radio meant that your parents probably enjoyed Aviciis music without knowing who made them. Mainstream pop has never been as much of the personality cult as it was in the 2010s, but EDM and genre-contiguous artists like Bergling have largely mirrored the reverse trend and made music that carries millions of personal experiences, leaving a blank slate of character ,
As Avicii he published two full-lengths, 2013 True and the 2015 follow-up Stories ; the former status of a notched platinum in the US, which was partially supported by the aforementioned "Wake Me Up". But his debatable musical climax – and possibly his most beloved song through the EDC set – was "Levels" in 2011, a song that barely scratched the Billboard Top 40 for release, but reached a level of festival-speaker ubiquity. It's very Aviciis One Song, in the sense that when you think of Avicii you think of "Levels". (This is a compliment: in EDM and dance music in general, one song often suffices, and many spend much longer careers than Bergling tries in vain to nail it.)
"Oh, sometimes I get a good feeling," the Voice of Etta James – in a rehearsal from her 1962 single "Something has a hold on me" – curls through a hollow of empty space, looping through a steady build of finger snaps and synth pads to the song Zig – Zack Melody reappears, bigger than ever. The power of "Levels" is obvious right from the first listen, the feeling completely applicable to anyone who sniffs his nose when he is called "Millennial". Over the past decade, people at a certain age have often lost themselves in the world – financially, politically, etc. – which has led them to seek a kind of relief from the pain of the existing. When you hear "levels", you want to stand in a field screaming, maybe you want more time with friends in a variety of situations – maybe it makes you want to buy something. However, if you've heard "levels" in the last seven years and felt good, then Berling's mission was accomplished.
And it is the nature of this mission that led Bergling's health struggles to his death – the 28-year-old suffered from acute pancreatitis, a disease often caused by heavy drinking – bitterly ironic. "There's free alcohol everywhere – it's weird if you do not drink," he said GQ exactly in April 2013, and after his death, it's impossible not to see the statement as an ominous warning. At the center of Pressler's profile – which otherwise and excellently sums up EDM's economic stranglehold on the music industry with equal amusement and perky curiosity – is Bergling's fight against alcohol abuse as a by-product of the shuttle from superstar gig to superstar gig.
A liquid diet of Bloody Marys, champagne and wine led to a week plus hospitalization and Bergling's diagnosis. According to the Pancreas Foundation, symptoms of acute pancreatitis include "severe, constant" abdominal pain, which typically requires extensive hospital treatment. The mortality rate varies by ten percent. "I'm probably drinking more now than I should," Bergling admitted to Pressler, demanding a "no-two-day-benders" rule as a self-imposed preventive measure before releasing the journalist for a cursed night in the city.
One month before the GQ profile was published, Bergling's doctors reportedly urged him to have his gallbladder removed, but he refused; In March 2014, he underwent surgery to remove the gallbladder and appendix after a pancreatitis episode, canceled a series of tour dates, and received a headliner spot at this year's Ultra Music Festival. Until his last appearance on August 28, 2016, which marked his official departure from the tour, Bergling's tour was in a constant state of upheaval as he tried to cope with the complications of his illness. Although there is no known cause of death at the time of Bergling's death, it does not seem unreasonable to say that Bergling has suffered greatly from alcohol abuse in the last five years – and it pays to think about the general acceptability of the music industry as well EDM culture in general were key factors. Grouped around the loosely categorized sub-genre of electronic music, which over the past decade has served primarily as a financial boom-and-bust injection for the music industry, the culture around EDM has long been a corrupt legacy: musically dismissed, and frivolous we regularly attribute to decline panic-statesmen of their culture of chemical excess and misogyny.
Although recent signs of a reversal in the opposite direction have been encouraging, there has been a period of time (say from 2012 to 2016) when the reports of accident reports at the EDM festival became a terrible norm. Since 2011, seven people have died at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas; In July 2017, there were 29 drug-related deaths at dances organized by companies in Los Angeles. Along with the fact that the music industry is one that, if you are so inclined, always hold a drink in hand and any other substance you want within reach, Bergling's tragic and sudden passing serves as a reminder that this cultural Toxicity is also capable of killing people on stage.
"I have a great opportunity to focus on myself and try to grow up in a way I could never get – normal or as normal as I can," Bergling said in 2015 Wave concert cancellations. "My team, my label and my family have encouraged me to do that, and I realize that not many in my position get this opportunity." Along with a degree of openness, the statement itself highlights the most tragic element of Bergling's death: he was a young man who made music for young people, his chance to continue growing even though he heard the memories live.]  Consequences You Larry Fitzmaurice on Twitter .
This article originally appeared on Noisey US.