The lead up to Kygo‘s big Selena Gomez collaboration had Billboard Dance in a little tizzy all week. Now that it’s out, we’re playing it over and over in excitement, but the whole thing has us looking back on Kygo’s career so far, and we’ve got to say, he’s got a lot of hits.
His tropical key-infused sonic style is the stuff easy listening dreams are made of. You can’t be stressed out with Kygo pumping through the speakers. Non-scientific studies conducted in cubicles across the country show listener’s shoulder hunch 45 percent less than they do when not listening to Kygo.
A lot of his best jams came from his debut album Cloud Nine, but there are some some preceding singles that bear revisiting. Some of Cloud Nine‘s best are deep cuts, too. In honor of “It Ain’t Me,” here’s a list of the best Kygo songs to date (not including remixes, which we listed here). Kick back, relax, press play, and pretend you’re on a beach somewhere.
10. Kygo feat. Imagine Dragons – “Born To Be Yours”
Tropical house meets mainstream alt-rock in a swirl of hooks and romanticism, giving fans exactly what they’d expect in a radio summer single. It’s got mas classic Kygo style, so drink up, day ones. “Born To Be Yours” comes paired with a charming music video that follows the dating misadventures of Big Foot, not altogether unrelated to the plight of modern man. The song peaked at No. 74 on the Hot 100.
9. Kygo feat. Ellie Goulding – “First Time”
Everyone loves the bittersweet taste of youthful nostalgia, but when Ellie Goulding delivers the dose in her raw, husky coo, it’s somehow even more delectable. She helped push the single to No. 67 on the Hot 100 in May of 2017. Kygo’s island-tinged melodies lead you down your own nearly-forgotten memory lane, convincing you that Goulding’s reveries are in fact your own. Teenage love is a mess, but it’s one you just can’t trade, and why would you want to?
8. Kygo feat. Justin Jesso – “Stargazing”
Speaking of vocal performances that completely wreck your heart, Justin Jesso’s soul is apparent on this gut-wrenching ballad. It’s the kind of singing that forces Kygo to break out the big piano hits, though the Norwegian producer still gives it some disco-pop bounce. This is for those who need a good cry on the dance floor, and even thought it didn’t chart on the Hot 100, it’s certainly one of Kygo’s strongest moments.
7. Kygo feat. Maty Noyes – “Stay”
This fourth official single from Cloud Nine comes through your speaker like a ray of sunshine, even as the lyrics tell the story of a person who probably should get out of a crappy relationship, but doesn’t. It’s one of the Norwegian artist’s bigger hits, co-written by vocalist Maty Noyes. This one is really cheerful and fun to listen to, so we will “Stay” playing it, just like the character in the song. Mind blown.
6. Kygo feat. The Night Game – “Kids In Love”
While arguably one of project’s furthest-traveling cuts from Kygo’s initial releases, “Kids In Love” embraces a timeless melody that you’d find on your go-to classic rock jam for the road. The release comes off Kygo’s sophomore album. Indeed, it’s the title track offering, which puts it at the center of the album’s thematic message.
5. Kygo feat. Julia Michaels – “Carry Me”
No, this isn’t Kygo’s biggest hit, but in the world of music, biggest doesn’t often mean best. Right out the gate, that arpeggiated melody sets the tone with a colorful, playful energy. Julia Michaels’ strong voice carries the hook to greatness. Lyrically, it’s the perfect best friend anthem, a vibe that carries over into the FOMO-inducing music video. “Carry Me” is instantly infectious, and it’s got an amped up finish big enough to rock the crowd at the 2016 Summer Olympic closing ceremony – which it did, if you recall.
4. Kygo feat. Miguel – “Remind Me To Forget”
Landing at No. 63 on the Hot 100 is this fiery Miguel feature. It’s a break-up song for those who like to groove through the pain. It’s an upbeat melody, in typical Kygo fashion, and the R&B singer matches the mood with a soft belt that says “I’ve got one foot invested in this heartbreak and another already in the pool of moving forward.” If you’re almost over your ex but not just quite, this is the one for you.
3. Kygo feat. Parson James – “Stole the Show”
When you talk about Kygo, you’ve got to talk about “Stole the Show.” In a way, its a beautiful metaphor for his own career. Kygo came out of basically nowhere, and in his first year as a professional music maker, he covered for Avicii at the main stage of TomorrowWorld. That is some next-level upward mobility, no matter who you ask. In any case, “Stole the Show” plays like an overall thesis statement of what characterized Kygo’s catalogue. It’s got fun pan pipes, R&B pop vocals, and a laidback beat just rockin’ enough to keep you day drinking through sunset. It’s a Kygo classics, for sure.
2. Kygo feat. Conrad Sewell – “Firestone”
“Firestone” is Kygo’s biggest hit to date, possibly the first song fans think of when they get that special Kygo feeling. Conrad Sewell’s falsetto has a touch of the ’80s playboy, matched perfectly by the low register piano chords and humming synth of the first verse. That choral build is made for interpretive dance or those emotionally-overwhelmed performances you give your best friend in the car. There’s something about the song that could be sad if it weren’t for that pulsing, sunset-colored hook. Fun Fact: The song was written by Dutch songwriter Martjin Konihnenburg who was inspired to pen the hook upon seeing a Firestone tire billboard in Venica, Ca. The more you know.
1. Kygo with Selena Gomez – “It Ain’t Me”
“It Ain’t Me” is right out the gate with some lazy beach day acoustic guitar runs, but it’s Selena Gomez’ voice who comes in powerful and strong, ready to take Kygo’s collaborative vocal game to a whole new level. Her voice gets cut and pasted in a new melodic arrangement for the chorus which gives the track a certain edginess new to Kygo’s catalogue. The latest track shows growth and maybe heralds a new era of Kygo’s sound, though all our favorite parts are still there.