It was around eight o’clock on a busy train to London that I had time to listen to Kygo’s eagerly anticipated debut album, Cloud Nine. I was one of those people to pre-order on iTunes months ahead of the release, hoping that the track list would live up to my expectations and see Kygo develop his unique style of tropical house. Whilst most of the album tracks stay true to the DJ’s unique and mellow musical style, some songs see him move away from the more quiet and mellow hits like Firestone and Nothing Left.
In 2014, Deadmau5 criticised Kygo’s house style, saying he “can’t wait to hear this in the elevator“. It’s an unnecessary comment, as tropical house remains both at the forefront and in the background of today’s music industry – Kygo has brought it into the spotlight, and artists such as Justin Bieber have used it on a more discreet level (particularly in his track Sorry). Deadmau5 may not like it, but this year, the dance anthems are adopting a more laid-back and chilled tone, as opposed to 2014’s Summer by Calvin Harris, for example.
That being said, tracks such as Fragile (feat. Labrinth) and Not Alone (feat. RHODES) stand out on Cloud Nine as songs which drift away from soft vocals and ‘plucky’ synths – although most of the album does stick to Kygo’s typical style. Whilst that does run the risk of being repetitive, the Scandinavian DJ still manages to add a touch of originality to all 15 tracks.
One of my favourite songs from the album has to be Fiction (feat. Tom Odell), where the tune in the chorus is nostalgic and reminds me of the plucky piano used at fairgrounds on the carousel and arcades. What Kygo’s debut album does well is that it offers a listeners a choice – they can either dance along or listen to the album as something to relax to. With a name like Cloud Nine, there’s no surprise that it the tracks are euphoric, uplifting and vibrant.
The only slight slip-up on the track list is I’m in Love (feat. James Vincent McMorrow). I’ve mentioned this in a previous review, but whilst Kygo does a good job of avoiding repetition when it comes to synth melodies and song structure, the whining ‘I’m in Love’ which continues throughout the song
Cloud Nine is a colourful, creative and chilled album destined to succeed this summer at a time where we’re getting fed up of loud, hardcore dance tracks. It may very well be the type of music to play in the background, but it sets a positive mood – and that’s all you could ever want from an album, right?
What do you think of Cloud Nine? What is your favourite single from the album? Comment below!