LA-raised KYLE has always given the world chirpy pop tracks full of Cali sunshine, and ‘It’s Not So Bad’ is his most consistent effort yet. Although it’s hard to succeed with light-hearted pop-rap tunes in a world that rewards aggressive braggadocio, he defied this trend when his viral hit ‘iSpy’ became the song of the summer in 2016. And his loveable and nerdy third studio album might go some way to curing your SAD. Flirting with different sounds, from disco to garage, this record is a perfect pick-me-up.
Running back to the muted, soulful pop he made at the dawn of his fame, the 28-year-old exudes a real sense of identity on this independent release, which may have been lost during his two-album major label days with Atlantic Records. Just look at ‘Loves Theme Song’: KYLE hasn’t strayed from nostalgic-sounding tracks, and here keeps those ‘00s-centric warped sounds via acoustic guitars and lilting piano notes. Telling a tale of the perfect relationship (“And the dream team’s strong / I’m a be the shoulder that you lean lean on”), KYLE always keeps it fresh, with the New Orleans bounce sound at the end to go berserk to.
He’s not usually one for the flashiest collaborators (honestly, KYLE never needs them), but the lithe ‘Unreplaceable’ features garage pioneer Craig David; straight afterwards comes ‘Sunday’, KYLE’s remake of Craig’s synonymous hit, ‘7 Days’. This track is a breath of fresh air not just the Reseda native but for David too, since, despite its choppy melodies, it’s upbeat but not to the point where you’ll be skanking out in a rave. Perfect for those blustery sunny days soon to come, ‘Unreplaceable’ offers – sonically – good vibes as the pair remember the loves they can’t simply live without: “Now you with him, now it’s not fair / I’ll take a guess, girl, you don’t care”.
The album closes with automated lullaby ‘Sleepyhead’. With the muffled vocal delivery popular in hyper-pop, the track is a sonic hug for those that need it, or a just cuddly track worthy of a head crank when you need a break. A bit left-field for the pop-rapper – if you look back at his discography full of high-octane, bouncy tracks – ‘Sleepyhead’ seems like the start of a new KYLE. ‘It’s Not So Bad’ feels like the natural progression from the star. On ‘It’s Not So Bad’, he reminds the world that he’s everything we need now: syrupy, lighthearted fun.
Release date: January 28th
Record label: Independent