Why Kaytranada’s ‘99.9%’ is the album of the summer


As the dog days of summer roll to an end, I’m left to reflect on the many tracks and albums I’ve consumed over the past three months. I’ve grooved along to Lone, threw my hands in the air listening to Disclosure and strutted around to the first Justice release in nearly three years; but one album has never strayed too far from my Spotify queue — Kaytranada’s first full-length release, 99.9%. I first came across Kay when his single “Leave Me Alone” popped up on my weekly Spotify Discover playlist (yes, I know!). I immediately fell in love with his use of downright abrasive bass and warbly organ-tinged synthesizers, merged with trap and house beats. Something about it made me feel so badass that I surprised myself by making it an integral part of my morning commute. From then on, I eagerly consumed each new Kaytranada track, remix or set; my ears hungry for more.

And nearly one year later, I’ve finally been rewarded for my devotion with 15 brand new tracks. 99.9% is an album filled with contrasts, and it’s these sudden shifts both in the tone and genre of each track that make those contrasts all the more intoxicating. A sultry instrumental like “Weight Off” might give way to a rap ballad, only to be overtaken by a bass heavy-hitter. At times this might seem a little chaotic, disjointed even, but as Kaytranada puts it, his unique brand of “black tropical house” holds it all together. No where is this more apparent than on my favorite, “Together.” It’s here that AlunaGeorge’s masterful vocals swirl effortlessly around that warbly synth and signature bass, showcasing that cohesive sound.

99.9% is by no means a traditional choice for album of the summer, but its unique quirks are sure to leave an impression that lasts far beyond Labor Day and those last, hazy days of summer.