Who doesn’t love the Super Bowl? Growing up in Haiti, my friends and I never really got into “American” football, and yet every year you could find us glued to the TV screen for one thing — the commercial break. With an average budget of 3.5 million dollars per advertisement, companies are spending big bucks to make their mark on the 111 million potential customers watching the game. Which brings me to my next point. I couldn’t help but find it intriguing that Bud Light’s advertisement committee chose to highlight Tim Berg, the 22-year-old Swedish DJ known as Avicii, in this year’s ad.
The commercial centered around a group of 20-something-year-olds meeting after work for a party in a classy apartment, accompanied by a smiling Avicii spinning his signature feel good music. The song used in the advertisement, titled “Levels”, is Tim’s upbeat Swedish-style House production that samples “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” by the late Etta James. Although electronic dance music known as House was created in Chicago and NYC in the late 70s, it quickly spread from club to club, developing into a number of styles ranging from fast paced UK Drum and Bass, to melodic Swedish Progressive House. “Levels” serves as a powerful musical example of the blending of cultures, in this case American vocals with Swedish house music, in order to create a new genre of music fit for arguably the most important American stage. Anna Tsing mentioned in her essay,”The Global Situation”, that anthropologists agree that the global era would be characterized by local cultural divergences as much as unification, so the fact that Avicii’s brand of Swedish house can be traced back to its early roots in America serves as a testament to a new age of interconnected but distinct countries and musical cultures.