20 Best EDM and Electronic Albums of 2016

Flume, Kygo, Aphex Twin and more

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Kygo, 'Cloud Nine'
20
15/20

15. Kygo, 'Cloud Nine'

When Swedish House Mafia said "Don't You Worry Child," Kygo was the kid who wasn't listening. Cloud Nine, the 25-year-old DJ's first LP, is melancholic, forlorn and strangely confident. In terms of genre, it's "tropical house" only because it isn't anything else, plus it has those modulating pan-flute synths that Bieber nabbed for "What Do You Mean?" These are the kind of songs that follow crashes both chemical and financial. When EDM was ascending, chord progressions pushed higher and higher while vocalists tried to seize a night that was just beginning. A few years later, the perspective is flipped, and the sound is muted. "We used to have it all, but now's our curtain call," Parson James sings on Cloud Nine's first vocal track. "At least we stole the show." In 2016, Kygo's gift was to make the end of an era sound like the beginning of a new one. N.M.

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