Kyle Thomas Harvey is California born and raised singer, rapper, actor, and songwriter KYLE.
KYLE’s 2017 hit “iSpy” featuring rapper Lil Yachty catapulted the artist onto the Billboard charts, winning him his first Billboard Hot 100 hit and taking him from indie artist to Coachella performer in a matter of months.
His 2018 album, Light of Mine is vastly underrated. The pop-rap album is heavily influenced by nostalgia, featuring late 80’s inspired synth, gated drum reverb, record scratches, and 8-bit blip samples that can be heard on old school video games like Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda.
Currently, nostalgia-influenced music is super trendy, but very few artists can pull off a song—let alone a whole album of songs—influenced by specific decades of music or artists. However, KYLE came through with flying colors. When a person thinks of ‘80s rap or ‘80s pop, they might think of the fun ambiance of the music, the bright colors, and distorted harmonies. As if placing the listener in the role of a video game hero, KYLE creates a pop ambiance-filled story of self-discovery and finding himself and happiness once again through 15 songs.
Light of Mine is funny and real. The first track off of the album, “Ups & Downs,” sets the tone for the rest of the collection. It discusses KYLE’s worries, his depression, and whether or not he really is doing what he wants in this industry. Featuring a pseudo-Jiminy-Cricket-Lil-Yachty, in “Ups & Downs” he is reminded that he needs to leave negativity in the past.
“Zoom” talks about how KYLE “zooms” past his problems and that even though he has money, it doesn’t mean that he is happy. The track follows his previous exploration in his album Shiptrip of how it is okay to not be okay, which is an important discussion for him to bring up, especially because of his largely male audience. KYLE is very outspoken about toxic masculinity and the role it has in the depression of men around the world.
Light of Mine also does a great job of incorporating new school rap stylings with old school melodies and beats, as heard through the distorted barbershop quartet at the end of “Coming, Going?” If the listener wasn’t already sold on the many themes of the album, the features of Khalid, Kehlani, and Alessia Cara should pretty much seal the deal. Khalid and Cara’s features on “iMissMe” and “Babies” show the versatile nature of KYLE’s style. Both tracks are R&B, reminiscent of something the listener might hear from Michael Jackson, Deniece Williams, or Prince, while Kehlani’s “Playinwitme” is a fun, piano-infused, tongue-in-cheek rap with smooth vocals.
Light of Mine is as fun as it is deep, keeping the listener on their toes from start to end. Its upbeat tracks and semi-emo songs are equally danceable, whether someone is listening to this album in the car, with friends, or at the club. Listen now on Spotify.