Hayley Kiyoko is best known for being an American singer-songwriter, actress and dancer. Since starting out as an actress, at a young age, Kiyoko has built up quite a name for herself, both as an all-round entertainer and as an LGBTQ+ activist. Now, with a string of successful EPs and singles under her belt, 2018 sees the release of her long-awaited debut album, Expectations. Here’s what we think…
This is an album that finds credible, deep songwriting merging with contemporary pop, addressing a range of mature issues, head on. It’s an album packed full of heavy bass lines, quirky synth sounds, upbeat dance rhythms and all-out catchy pop melodies.
The funky Charlie Puth-esque bass opening of first single, ‘Feelings’ sees Kiyoko give a vulnerable account about how intensely she falls for someone. It’s catchy but understated pop.
Then you’ve got ‘What I Need’ featuring Kehlani, which has R&B flavours mixed with current tropical house vibes and it’s all about being there for someone who’s uncertain about making a commitment.
Other great tracks include; the whispery and subtle ‘Sleepover’ which has a barely noticeable but very beautiful, underlying guitar melody; ‘Curious’ which is undoubtedly the most catchy and most pop track on the record (and my personal favourite) that is about questioning the seriousness of a girl’s relationship and ‘He’ll Never Love You (HNLY)’ with its great guitar lines and reggae feel.
This is a modern pop record that has been crafted well and sees Kiyoko shed her Disney days and address mature issues close to her heart.
There are also similarities with other artists; ‘Under The Blue/Take Me In’ is like a more mainstream pop version of a Lana Del Rey track but a more credible version of Taylor Swift, ‘Mercy/Gatekeeper’ starts out with echoing and rather trippy, distorted vocals but during the second half, becomes quite random and a little Beyoncé-esque and ‘Palm Dreams’ is very beachy pop, a bit like something by Geowulf.
There’s no doubt that there are strong themes throughout the album; relationships (particularly with girls questioning their sexuality) and inner conflicts Kiyoko herself has faced. The level of sass on the album demonstrates her self-confidence, though at times, the reoccurring topic of girls questioning their sexuality or lusting after other girls, without being able to commit, can become repetitive. However, that’s not to say she isn’t doing something great for the genre and her attempts to normalise lesbian relationships within pop music are fantastic; it just seems to be a very strong theme to the album.
The album starts off very strong and maintains its strength for the majority, but the last couple of tracks do feel a little flat. Overall though, this is a modern pop record that has been crafted well and sees Kiyoko shed her Disney days and address mature issues, close to her heart. It also has a certain excitement to it that could be the start of something big for her! I’m sure this will be a huge success and will take her career to new heights.
‘Expectations’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/expectations/1332078481
Expectations on Spotify
Curious (Official Video)
Feelings (Official Video)
Sleepover (Official Video)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s Fiction Act EP? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.