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5 Country-EDM Songs Inspired by Avicii

From Zac Brown Band’s “Beautiful Drug” to country-EDM collisions, key tracks influenced by the Swedish DJ, who died on Friday at 28

Avicii

Mark Winter/REX/Shutterstock

Avicii’s commercial breakthrough had reverberations far beyond the dance clubs where he was accustomed to working. The Swedish DJ and producer, who died at 28 on Friday, envisioned an exciting new mix of styles with his hits “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother,” combining the acoustic instrumentation and melodies of roots music with rhythm-heavy dance music. 

While it never fully caught on with country radio, the idea launched a microtrend that has echoes into the present day with country and EDM collaborations like Maren Morris and Zedd’s “The Middle” or the murky electronic roots music on the recent solo album from bluegrass ace Dan Tyminski, who provided vocals on “Hey Brother.” Here are five of the best collisions of country and EDM inspired by Avicii.

Avicii

Mark Winter/REX/Shutterstock

Zedd, Maren Morris, Gray, “The Middle”

Maren Morris had loads of crossover appeal from the moment she self-released her eponymous EP in 2015, but even she probably didn’t see a Number One dance song in her future. Morris became the first country artist to earn that honor earlier this year thanks to “The Middle,” her collaboration with Zedd and production duo Grey, showing just how fully EDM has integrated with Music City in the past half decade. Morris’ voice, a robust, soulful tool that’s proven adaptable to most any pop genre she comes across, doesn’t exactly need the help of a vocoder. Yet on “The Middle” her warm, lilting twang proves a perfect match, with the relatively spare production giving the mechanized harmonies room to smolder and fill the in between space that the song’s title implies. J.G.

Avicii

Mark Winter/REX/Shutterstock

Hailee Steinfeld and Alesso featuring Florida Georgia Line and Watt, “Let Me Go”

Florida Georgia Line are no strangers to the EDM world, having collaborated with the Chainsmokers on their Memories… Do Not Open track “Last Day Alive” in 2017. While that song didn’t make it to radio, their guest spot on the Hailee Steinfeld and Alesso song “Let Me Go” did, landing the duo in the Top 40 at the same time as another of their crossovers, “Meant to Be” with Bebe Rexha. Released in late 2017, “Let Me Go” features a vocal duet from pop artist Steinfeld and FGL, with production and arrangement from Swedish DJ Alesso. There’s not much country to be found in this one, with its blippy synths and trop-pop beats, though Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley manage to sneak a little twang into the second verse with their two-part vocal harmony. B.M.

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