With roughly half the number of songs found on his 2016 debut LP, Kygo's sophomore effort, Kids in Love, actually ends up being a more satisfying and enjoyable experience now that he's learned to trim the fat. Clocking in at less than half an hour, the eight-song collection feels more like an EP and is a focused dose of sunshine that avoids much of the homogeneity of his overstuffed Cloud Nine, trading tropical cool for warm emotion. Of course, there are nods to his earlier work, like the breezy "I See You" with the gruff vocals of Billy Raffoul and the big pop moment of "Stranger Things," which features OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. However, much of Kids in Love finds Kygo taking stylistic steps outside his comfort zone, which pays off during the impeccable middle stretch. American singer Wrabel brings a Sam Smith-style soul to the soaring "With You," while Boston outfit the Night Game carry the title track into the festival stratosphere with a giant singalong anthem that would fit nicely in an open-air set by Avicii or Swedish House Mafia. Above all stands highlight "Riding Shotgun," a collaboration with Oliver Nelson that benefits from the light vocals of Bonnie McKee, who comes off as a cross-generational mix between Demi Lovato and Kylie Minogue. Kids in Love brims with feeling and maintains its momentum throughout, providing an extremely uplifting and empowering mix that is a proper and gratifying evolutionary step for Kygo.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
feat: Oliver Nelson
feat: Selena Gomez