The lead up to Kygo’s big Selena Gomez collaboration had us in a frenzy all month. 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. John Legend – “Happy Birthday”
For a really long time, the Happy Birthday song was a licensed ditty, and no one was allowed to use it in movies, TV, commercials, or even public restaurants without maybe probably getting slapped with a fee. That all changed when the tune became part of the public domain in February of 2016, but that didn’t stop Kygo from writing his own total remake of the timeless classic. John Legend is one of the greatest r&b singers of this generation, and who doesn’t want to hear a heart-melting, feel-good serenade from the Legend himself on their special day? Plaster this all over your friends’ Facebook walls when the time is right.
9. Kygo feat. Foxes – “Oasis”
This Kygo song from Cloud Nine is the sonic oasis to your crappy day. Stuck in traffic? Blast this sucker with the windows down. Locked in a boring conference call that’s going nowhere? Sing this tune silently in your head. Actually, pay attention. That’s what you’re paid to do, but Foxes’ voice will be there for you, ringing clear and bright through life’s hardest moments, as soon as you’re free to press play.
8. Kygo feat. Kodaline – “Raging”
My favorite part of this Kygo song might be that beautiful acoustic guitar intro. It gives me serious Led Zeppelin, Middle-Earth minstrel vibes, and those are warm and fuzzy indeed. Kodaline’s vocals are somehow relaxing and energizing at the same time, and that beat comes in like a push to the soul. It all comes together in the perfect sound of adventure. Listen to “Raging” on a long trip or whenever it’s time to get back on that open road.
7. Dillon Francis, Kygo feat. James Hersey – “Coming Over”
Listen and watch Kygo draw out funnyman Dillon Francis’ underlying sweetness. James Hersey is so romantic on this one. All I can think about is you coming over, too, baby. You’ve got to love the way Kygo’s tropi-vibe melts in and out of Francis’ bass-loving edge. The two make one delicious couple, that’s for sure. More Francis Kygo collabs, please.
6. Kygo feat. Ella Henderson – “Here For You”
Once upon a time, “Here For You” was simply known as the Ultra Music Festival anthem for 2015. It didn’t yet feature the smoky singsong of Ella Henderson, but it did entrance listeners immediately with its bouncing key melody and subtle bass lines. Those elements still ring true in the official “Here For You” release, although Henderson helps push the track into true jam territory. It’s just haunting enough to stick in your soul, but catchy enough to stick in your head the whole day through.
5. 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 Kygo song is really cheerful and fun to listen to, so we will “Stay” playing it, just like the character in the song. Mind blown.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. 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.
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.