With a mushy and easy listening vibe, Kygo’s Cloud Nine a venture into tropical house music isn’t a reinvention of the wheel but, a rather well appreciated effort to bring music back to tropical house and pair it with contemporary artists offering benefits to both the artist performing and Kygo. The 24 year old is exceptionally good at pairing his piano driven electronic tracks with voices that catch people by surprise.
Showcasing exactly what he’s good at, Kygo’s Cloud Nine, starts with a guitars and synthesizers moving on to pianos and percussions – just a sample of what the Norwegian with a flair for piano and tropical house does. Stole The Show ft. Parson James, Kygo’s record deal earning track features right after. Originally intended to be a ballad, Kygo’s tropical house treatment transformed the track and gave both of them involved a crack at what it feels to be atop the charts. You’ve got a wide array of voices from there ranging from chart topping RnB crooners like John Legend and Labrinth to unique voices like Tom Odell and Kodaline from Europe. Whether it is Tom’s high pitched vocals on Fiction or the coos and electronic treatment to the vocals by Irish band Kodaline, Kygo has this almost chameleonic trait of bending genres. I admit the lyrics are juvenile but, the Irish band Kodaline, quite popular in indie rock circles, do not sound anything like their normal fare on their album in 2015, Coming Up For Air.
Conrad Sewell features on another chart topper off Cloud Nine, Firestones. Originally intended to be an RnB track by the Australian crooner, Kygo’s remix popularised the genre and track making him a household name. John Legend’s Happy Birthday is standard RnB fare with Kygo’s tropical house thrown in good for measure, although the song doesn’t live up to the star power Legend commands. Samples from Triple J’s James Vincent McMorrow’s live cover of Lana Del Rey’s West Coast lead to another original, I’m In Love. The sample is played in various lengths across the track with its repetitive lyrics and makes for a club ready track.
British singer Foxes replaces Sia on Oasis and does an ok job with an alternate retelling of the track. Written by Sia, it features a chorus sung by the camera shy songwriter, with the verses sung by Foxes. It feels a little unfinished but worth a listen nonetheless. RHODES aka David Rhodes features on Not Alone and the track again leans towards RnB. Labrinth, Julia and Angus Stone, Matt Corby, Maty Noyes, and Will Heard feature on a few hits and misses bringing the 15 album track to a close.
Although the subgenre of tropical house relies heavily on the piano jams and the tropical instruments that characterise the genre, Kygo musical sensibilities are much appreciated. The album definitely has its share of stellar tracks and the less stellar ones too, but, for a major debut, it is a solid effort.
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