Avicii Reaching Out With “Hey Brother”
Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii is mainly known for his engaging and energetic melodies. He experimented with his music and has come out with many popular tracks during his time. In True, his 2013 album, Tim released two experimental tracks which combined two unexpected genres. Both tracks became very popular and are known as “Wake me Up” and “Hey Brother”. Both are a combination of Folk music and House music, which hasn’t been seen in the electronic world. As of recently, Tim took his own life in June 2018. Many speculate that depression was a leading cause of his death. Even though Tim didn’t come up with the lyrics to his song “Hey Brother”, it uses certain rhetorical strategies that address this group of people who are in distress one way or another.
Tim addresses his audience as “brother” and “sister”. In a religious standpoint, since we are children of God, This could literally mean anyone. We are all brothers and sisters. However, for those that don’t have that belief could simply see this a family member letting his other siblings know he will always be there for them. Calling someone a brother and sister could refer to someone close but not necessarily related. For example, people say “I have always seen you as a brother (or sister) of mine”. This gives that individual who is being addressed a sense of closeness to that other individual, such as how relatives look out for each other.
With that said, this song gives us a good idea of what Tim might have been going through at the time of this song’s release. As mentioned, the lyrics address those who are in a type of distress, which could include those who struggle with depression, loneliness or another form of hardship. Tim reaches out to these people throughout the song by saying, “What if I lose it all? Oh sister, I will help you out!” and “if the sky comes falling down for you, there’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do”. Tim takes a heroic standpoint in wanting to be there for his brothers and sisters. What does this have to do with his depression? We can assume Tim himself has been where his struggling brother’s and sisters have been. His purpose in this song was to let them know he was there for them. He might not have been able to tend to each of his vast population of fans individually, but he was able to reach out to them by his songs; by the lyrics provided by this song.
But it is more than just the Lyrics. The pinnacle of the song is when the drop hits and the trumpets ring in. Their energy, volume, and melody sets the tone for a sense of hope, heroism, and reassurance to his struggling brother and sister fans. Back in the medieval times, trumpets were often used to introduce someone of high importance. They were employed by royalty, nobles and lords to announce their arrival by playing a fanfare on special occasions (Trumpet). We can imagine ourselves being in distress and then all of a sudden, a hero comes out of nowhere to save the day with trumpets ablaze. Or, at least that’s what I image when I listen to this song. It’s like the victory music that plays when the hero is gaining advantage over a villain in a movie. This song builds that same sense of hope, heroism, and reassurance for the audience letting them know that help is on the way.
Another way Tim got his point across that he wanted to be there for his brother and sister fans was by using symbolism. Again, I’ll use the same phrase, “if the sky comes falling down for you”. We see the sky as something that will always be. It’s fair to say we all have faith that the sky will always be up there doing whatever the sky does. So when he mentions the sky falling down, this can be interpreted as when something we had faith in completely fails us, and our lives are dramatically changed because of it. But again, he adds “there’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do”. I would add at the end there, “for you”. So here, Tim is saying that when you lose faith, and your life is changed because of it, He will do anything to help you and be there for you.
Another phrase is “There’s an endless road to rediscover”. This reminds me of the poem by Robert Frost known as “The Road Not Taken”. This endless road to rediscover, goes in line with this duo road diverging in the woods. We may be going down this one seemingly endless road that completely sucks, but we are reassured that there is another endless road that can be rediscovered. Rediscovered refers to a road we once knew, but have forgotten. This could be a road that leads to happiness or a road that leads to a more fulfilling life than what the road we are currently on provides. Tim is telling his audience that there is always a way to get back to the road we once knew that leads to a better life! Ironically, he himself was not able to get back to that road due to him ended his life
In conclusion, ”Hey Brother” gives us a good idea of how much Tim cared about his followers. He addressed his audience as his brothers and sisters. He showed empathy for those that were struggling like he has and he wants them to know that he wants to be there for them. Tim uses symbolism to address his audience that there will always be other ways that lead to a better life. Although he ended his life, he left a legacy of better days through his music. Later, he even made a song called “For a Better Day”! But that wasn’t released till 2015. Long live Avicii
“Trumpet.” Medieval Squires, www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-music/trumpet.htm.