In this second installment of my Kygo Series, I will be looking back at Kygo’s sophomore album, Kids in Love. Kids in Love is a good album featuring some incredible songs. It is a much smaller album than most traditional albums, only consisting of originally eight songs. Later, Kygo added on “Remind Me to Forget” featuring Miguel, that was initially released as a single after the album was originally released. For this review, since I tend not to think of “Remind Me to Forget” as a Kids in Love song but rather as a single, I will not be including it in this review. Released only a year after his freshman album, Cloud Nine, Kids in Love suffers a bit from sounding more like a traditional pop album and less like a masterpiece of music-making, like Cloud Nine. However, Kids in Love is still worth a listen, especially since it has some memorable anthems, most notably the title song, “Kids in Love”. A few other fantastic songs include “Stranger Things” and “Permanent”.
Song #1: “Never Let You Go” (featuring John Newman)
“Never Let You Go” works wonderfully as a heart-pumping introduction to Kygo’s sophomore album. Unlike his first album, Cloud Nine, Kygo decides to start off his return album with a bang. This song has a fast-paced bass line that does a fabulous job of showing how excited Kygo is to reveal his new album to the world. The vocals of John Newman are a welcome addition to Kygo’s catalog of amazing vocalists. His voice is a bit rough, giving this song a bit more of an edge. Easily, my favorite part of this song are the musical interludes. The wind-up after the chorus hypes the listener up very effectively, especially with the added vocal echoes. It then drops the bass and sends the listener into an adrenaline-pumping feeling of bliss. Overall, “Never Let You Go” is a fun summer anthem and a fabulous introduction for Kygo’s sophomore album.
Song #2: “Sunrise” (featuring Jason Walker)
“Sunrise” is a pleasant song to listen to while driving to the beach during a beautiful sunrise. The lyrics are charming, the melody is crisp (like a sunrise), and the strings featured in this song are a nice addition. Although the song is still better than most pop songs currently being released, it does not stand out among Kygo’s repertoire for me all that well. Also, the vocal talents of Jason Walker are alright, but not memorable enough for a true Kygo masterpiece.
Song #3: “Riding Shotgun” (featuring Bonnie McKee)
Interestingly enough, I actually found “Riding Shotgun” annoying until about a few months ago. I am not sure exactly why my thoughts changed on this song, but finally after its release three years ago, I actually really enjoy this song now. “Riding Shotgun” sounds more like a Kygo song than the previous one. The vocals provided by Bonnie McKee are not the greatest, however, the vocal melody combined with the bouncy music works very well. My favorite moment in this song is the pre-chorus. The flow of McKee’s vocals and the music are very smooth and pleasant to listen to.
Song #4: “Stranger Things” (featuring OneRepublic)
“Stranger Things” is not only one of the best songs of this album, but also of Kygo’s entire repertoire. This song not only sounds breathtaking, but also is the first song of what is quickly becoming one of the best duos currently in the music industry. Combining the vocal talents of musical genius Ryan Tedder with Kygo’s whimsical musical landscapes creates an almost incomparable musical journey of pure bliss. I love this song so much that it is even in my top-five songs of Kygo’s. The music is enchanting, the flow is heavenly, the lyrics are stunningly beautiful and the vocals of Tedder are breathtaking. Like Kygo’s best material, this song makes you feel as if you are being transported into the abyss of space for a magical journey through the cosmos. This song is truly enchanting and definitely a banger that will never be forgotten.
Song #5: “With You” (featuring Wrabel)
“With You” is one of the most tragic-sounding songs of Kygo, and in a very beautiful way. The vocals of Wrabel are heart-wrenching, especially in the chorus of the song. The waterfall-like sounds of the percussion also make the song sound more passionate. “With You” almost sounds as if the singer is singing about realizing that he truly wants to be with his significant other after dealing with a heart-breaking fight. The lyrics, vocals and music all work very well together in creating a great break-up song and one of my favorites of this album.
Song #6: “Kids in Love” (featuring The Night Game)
“Kids in Love” is not only the staple song of this album, but probably of Kygo’s entire musical career so far. There are so many elements in this song that easily place it in my top-five Kygo songs. It starts out with an enchanting build-up progression of piano chords, which The Night Game then starts singing over with some vividly beautiful lyrics. It then introduces some guitar, with a change in the piano chords, causing more of a tease for what is about to come. Then, after it all fades out, Kygo sweeps back in with a powerful piano chord to start the chorus. At this point, the song already sounds incredible, with Kygo’s magnificent piano chords and The Night Game belting out insanely beautiful lyrics. However, Kygo decides to take it even further. After the chorus, the music fades out again, leaving just the vocals, until Kygo sweeps back in again with one of his best piano interludes ever recorded.
Everything about this piano interlude is breathtaking. The bassline consists of surprisingly unedited, repeated piano chords (not typical for a Kygo song) and the piano melody on top of the bassline is what can only be described as serene. And yet, this musical interlude is STILL only a build-up. It is not until after The Night Game chimes back in with the main phrase, “We were kids in love” that the bass kick finally drops in, creating a truly euphoric experience. However, this isn’t even the best part. Towards the end of the song, Kygo replays the main musical melody, only an octave higher than normal, with barely any other musical elements included. It is this moment that has not only put this song in my top-five songs of Kygo, but what has even made me reconsider what my favorite Kygo song is. “Kids in Love” is not just a masterpiece of music-making, but a pure work of art.
Song #7: “Permanent” (featuring JHart)
“Permanent” is a very welcome addition to this album as it is one of the few songs that thankfully sounds more like a traditional Kygo anthem, like “Kids in Love” and “Stranger Things”. The song’s flow is very smooth. The verses are very much in the style of Kygo, featuring mostly his piano skills. The chorus features JHart’s soaring vocals and works very well as a build-up to the musical interludes. The musical interludes, however, are my favorite sections of this song. It makes you feel like you are just dancing under the starry night sky in the middle of nowhere, delivering the ethereal feelings that we expect from Kygo which, sadly, many songs on this album lacks.
Song #8: “I See You” (featuring Billy Raffoul)
“I See You” is a decent song, but not the best of Kygo’s, and not a great way to finish this album. It is very mellow and a bit depressing which, unlike Kygo’s last album, does not work well as the final song of an album. Although it is still much better than most pop music being churned out currently, it is a bit lacking for a Kygo song. The flow works well, and Billy Raffoul’s vocals are very sorrowful, which works well for this song. However, it just does not feel like there is anything special happening in this song which, again, just results with a slightly under-whelming exit for Kygo’s sophomore album.
Although it is a better album than most pop and EDM albums currently being produced, Kids in Love is a bit of an under-whelming sequel album for Kygo. Many of its songs are not as unique as Kygo’s previous album, Cloud Nine, and most of the album seems more like a pop album than a masterpiece of music-making. Thankfully, however, there are still a few gems in this album. The songs “Stranger Things”, “Kids in Love”, and “Permanent” are definitely songs that I continually revisit, however, I really only listen to the rest of the album when I am shuffling my Kygo collection. I believe that the main reason for why this album is not as magnificent as Cloud Nine is because this only came out a year after the release date of Cloud Nine. One year is not a lot of time to write a second album, let alone an amazing one.
As much as I love Kygo, it is kind of sad to see how rushed he was in producing this sequel album. The other reason for this theory is that, a year after its release, Kygo decided to re-release this album. He decided to include the recently released single “Remind Me to Forget” as the album outro. “Remind Me to Forget” is an incredible song and works much better than “I See You” for an outro. However, it upsets me that Kygo added this on, rather than just being patient and holding off the release of this album until he found the right song to finish it. I have never liked when an artist adds a song to an already released album. It makes it seem as if the artist was not fully satisfied with the finished product, and to see Kygo do this to his second album only makes Kids in Love that much more under-whelming as a sequel album. Therefore, I do not include “Remind Me to Forget” as part of the Kids in Love album, although it does work much better as the outro.
Overall, Kids in Love has some amazing songs but, predominately, is a bit dissatisfying as Kygo’s sequel album. However, it is still a decent album and much better than most pop and EDM albums being released currently. I was just hoping for a more impressive sequel for Kygo.