“Wake Me Up”: Aloe Blacc Sings Me

I must admit I didn’t know much about Avicii until the Aloe Blacc collaborated with him on the song “Wake Me Up”. If you don’t know about Aloe Blacc, go on Youtube right now and take a listen. Especially listen to his performances with violinist and composer Mihalj “Miki” Kekenj, where he takes songs from his album, Good Things, and other songs, to create, as they say, a moment.

For those of you who know of Avicii, just bear with me. For those of you who are like me well, here’s a brief introduction. Avicii is a Swedish DJ and record producer who is particularly known for his dance mixes. I’m sure you’ve heard of his works while shopping in H&M or on the radio and not even know it like I did.  Now you can see how “Wake Me Up” is a bit of a big deal and surprisingly a big hit. In this song, Avicii breaks away from the fist pumping and ‘feel good’ lyrics, to something more serene, soulful, and country.

This song is like a bacon, cotton candy, and cheese sandwich. The pieces are great when eaten independently but maybe not so great together. Or is it? Well, Avicii really experimented with this one. I would have never imagined Blacc’s soulful voice in a country, Phillip Phillips-y type song. I would have never thought that techno beats within a country Phillip Phillips-y-Aloe soul song would actually sound phenomenal together. And you can fist pump to it too! Who knew?

I like the contradictions in this song. There’s the happy, fist pumping part. Then there’s the sad, country, thought provoking part. This is the kinda song that’ll have me crying in the beginning, tapping my foot in the middle, and cry-laughing in the end. I love that Avicii chose to collaborate with Aloe Blacc, because I think he’s a great, underrated artist.

What I appreciate most about Aloe Blacc is his devotion to music that has been somewhat lost because of pop music. His album, Good Things, released on September 27th, 2010, takes a nostalgic trip to the soul/Philly Sound/Motown feel of the 60s and 70s. He counterbalances this with modern lyrics that appeal to our generation with songs such as, “I need A Dollar”. Lord knows that the job market is particularly tough for us and this ‘dollar’ comes to symbolize the financial struggles of our generation (Hello, Sallie Mae and Co.) and the increasing dependency on legal/illegal substances to cope with the ‘real world’.

“Wake Me Up” is the perfect song for me. It speaks volumes to the stage I’m in and it shows me that it’s okay to be afraid, it’s okay to be young, and it’s okay to not know where I am going. In a society that pressures us so much to perform and ‘be’ something, it’s good to be reminded that you already are. We pressure kids to grow up and be a ‘big boy/girl’. They [society] pressure 21 year olds to be ‘adults’, to stop dreaming, to berealistic. But once we’re old, what memory will we have of our youth? What regrets? I don’t believe the message of this song is ‘YOLO so might as well get high and get by’. But I think it’s calling us to close our eyes and really think about who we want to be and where we want to go. Don’t let people pressure you into being older but to accept your age, accept where you are, and dream. 

Ironically the song is called “Wake Me Up” but it’s actually calling us to close our eyes.

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