Kygo Delivers the Feels on Euphoric Debut LP; Stream, Download ‘Cloud Nine’ [LISTEN]
After reigning the tropical house game for two years with a steady stream of remixes and singles, Kygo delivers all the feels on his aptly-titled euphoric debut LP, Cloud Nine. The blissed-out dance record, which features collaborations with the likes of John Legend, Kodaline, Parson James, Julia Michaels and Foxes among others on 14 out of the 15 tracks, is overall perfect for barbeque season. Stream the new album in full here, and download it here.
Cloud Nine fails exactly where Kygo-as-composer succeeds. While demonstrating his production prowess in terms of working with 14 very different vocalists on one glimmering deep house album, his actual production in terms of writing those tropical house pan flute-heavy dance floor bangers for which he has become known goes to the wayside on a handful of the new album's tracks.
But the less-than-memorable cuts are far outnumbered by those that demand a second (and third, fourth, fifth...) play. Tracks like "Stole the Show," "Fiction," "Stay" and "Carry Me" are classic Kygo: breezy, future-leaning tracks that feature his skills as both a producer and as a multi-instrumentalist.
His collaboration with John Legend, "Happy Birthday," delivers the world (at last!) a birthday song worth being shared on friends' Facebook walls to celebrate their special day. "Not Alone," which features RHODES, evokes a similar vibe and will also likely find its way on a number of summer love-themed playlists in the coming months.
Some of the most memorable moments on the album mark a slight departure from the sound he cultivated these past two years in the spotlight. Such moments include the '80s arena rock snares on "Fragile," the conventions of straightforward pop on "Carry Me" and the almost-EDM on "Oasis."
Along with "Firestone" and most other Cloud Nine cuts, "Oasis" isn't exactly a brand-spanking-new track. It first appeared around his Ultra performance in 2015, originally featuring vocals from Sia.
The final cut instead features Foxes, the vocalist we all still hear in our sleep four years after her feature on Zedd's 2012 single "Clarity," which on paper seems like an odd decision, but after listening to the track a few times I assure you: it's exactly what we all needed, and just in time for summer.
Much like Zedd's "Clarity," "Oasis" is a massive orchestral dance ballad-turned-banger with production that perfectly matches the strength of Foxes' passionate vocals as she belts out love song lyrics like "I feel like I'm lost in the desert / but you're my oasis." Here the Norse producer gets closer to EDM than on most of his discography as he masterfully combines his soulful piano skills with both house and techno stylings.
Those piano skills are made most beautifully obvious on "Intro," the only track that doesn't feature anyone except the 23-year-old himself, and "For What It's Worth." The instrumentals on the latter are immediately recognizable as part of the producer's Piano Jam series, only here they are remastered and completed with stunning vocals from Australian folk-duo Angus & Julia Stone.
It is on this updated version of "For What It's Worth" that the success of Cloud Nine becomes most evident: Kygo is the full package. He might have broken onto the scene and cultivated a new sound on the merit of his DJ remixes, but the young composer is sticking around because of his production abilities and his mastery of multiple instruments.