[POP] Kygo & Ellie Goulding’s “First Time” Is About Nostalgia But Isn’t Memorable

[POP] Kygo & Ellie Goulding’s “First Time” Is About Nostalgia But Isn’t Memorable

[POP] Kygo & Ellie Goulding’s “First Time” Is About Nostalgia But Isn’t Memorable


As I’ve predicted back in mid-February, Kygo and Selena Gomez‘ joint venture It Ain’t Me turned out to be quite a hit for both artists cracking the top tens in multiple countries around the world and even hitting the top spot in Kygo’s home country of Norway. The radio staple is also set to surely give Kygo his first top ten hit in the US next week due to the millions of streams generated by the release of the song’s video, out earlier this week.

Not wasting any time, the 25 year-old is releasing what looks to be the second single from his still untitled second album, this time pairing up with British superstar, Ellie Goulding. The soft, radio-friendly pop tune contains elements of tropical house but doesn’t feature a major drop or a hummable melody, thus producing mixed results.

Getting drunk on a train track
Way back, when we tried our first cigarettes
Ten dollars was a fat stack
I’d do it all again
Bought my jacket and a snapback
Your dad’s black Honda was a Maybach
Re: Stacks on the playback
I’d do it all again

Similarly the song’s lackluster arrangement, the song’s subject matter is also a misfire. The lyrics focus on young love and reminiscing about “being high” and trying smoking for the first time, without providing any real lyrical depth.  Are drinking, drug use, and smoking the only thrills of being young?! Is this really the best message artists should be sending to their (mostly young) audience in the very uncertain times we live in?!

Aside from featuring a major pop star like Goulding, there really isn’t much to this tune. I’ve listened to it at least ten times and I still can’t remember the melody. I also can’t imagine going about my day and humming a song about falling into substance abuse; something that is a very real problem for many, many people!

All of this has left a bad taste in my mouth (and pain in my ear). Pop music shouldn’t be boring and it should never be uninspiring or irresponsible. Kygo and Ellie, you should’ve known better!


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James Kabat Editor, based in Chicago specializing in pop, dance, and underground club culture. I have interviewed some of the world's biggest DJ's and I enjoy diving deep into the minds of my musical heroes.