He may only be 24 years old but Norwegian DJ producer, Kygo already garnered a billion Spotify streams; a number that most could only dream of achieving. It all started with his remixes for world-renowned artists such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and James Blake. Audiences saw potential in him; but Kygo proved to be more than meets the eyes. Upon first listen, it’s obvious that his tracks are not so much the ‘put your hands up’ kind of sound but it’s a rather mellow and soothing tone. Instead of the typical club banger hits, Cloud Nine seems more appropriate for lounges or perhaps even a romantic rendezvous. It’s a collection of relaxing, light listening experience. His tracks definitely steered clear of the typical EDM clichés.
Having said that, Cloud Nine is a good mix of hits and fillers. Half of the tracks were already released in the course of the past year and true enough; those were the better ones off the album and are already available online. While most DJs would focus on live performances and club banger singles; Kygo took the old school route with his very first full-length album release. This goes to show his efforts in becoming an artist rather than just the guy that does remixes. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s extremely musically talented with his capabilities as multi-instrumentalist.
Cloud Nine is an easy listen. Looking at the selection of artists in his album; Kygo’s choice of collaborators seems to have a delicate and dreamy sounds vocals. From John Legend, Labrinth to Tom Odell, Foxes, Angus Stone and Julia Stone. I noticed the consistency of sound throughout the album but some stretch of the albums may seem a little subdued and repetitive, almost formulaic.
Kygo’s breakthrough single ‘Firestone’ featuring Conrad Sewell needs no introduction; the track currently has about 270 million views on Youtube and more than 416 million streams on Spotify alone. It’s definitely one of my all time favorites from the man of the hour. ‘Raging’ on the other hand, penned by James Bay was also a pleasant surprise. You can notice the distinct rock direction from the Irish alternative band, Kodaline and perhaps even a slight touch of folk rock in the opening of the song. Another notable track would be ‘Stole The Show’ featuring Parson James. His tropical house mix is prominent in this particular track and as the title suggests, it reminded us of how Kygo stole the show, literally. While ‘Fragile’ featuring Labrinth is another enjoyable soulful electronica track, ‘Happy Birthday’ was quite a disappointment. Although John Legend’s vocal abilities are unquestionable, with such dull lyrics, the song didn’t quite live up to Legend’s star power.
The one thing I noticed about Cloud Nine; it seems like there’s an equation to Kygo’s sound and the tracks are produced based on that formula. Hence why most beats seemed rather repetitive. Overall, there are some really good tracks and some mediocre ones; but for a debut album, I’ll have to applaud Kygo for his solid efforts. Cloud Nine certainly has its charm and I’m looking forward to his next release.