There’s a reason I don’t write about a lot of dance or house music on Unsung Sundays. Most of it is self-perpetuating — dance music begets more dance music, and that genre survives without much real innovation (Daft Punk and their contemporaries exempted). But the real problem is that it’s just like the gangster rap scene was in the mid–1990s: There’s nothing there of any substance beyond the dancing. Of course, that changed with Eminem. Say what you will about the guy, but he brought storytelling to a genre that desperately needed it. And hip hop’s never been the same.
Avicii does the same thing. I know everybody’s listening to him right now and this is hardly an unknown recommendation, but I actually have something to say about him so too bad. His album is very danceable, but he’s also succeeded in making a dance album that tells an actual story. This isn’t a concept album or anything like that, but songs like Hey Brother and Wake Me Up actually give the listener something to munch on beyond a good beat. Dear Boy delivers on something that’s more traditional without eschewing what makes Avicii an interesting artist. Liar Liar is a great track, but the moneymaker on the record — the one I’m surprised I haven’t heard more people talk about — is Shame On Me. This delivers the same fun the classic Mambo Number Five delivers, but with a more modern vibe. Love it.