#Review: Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerHayley 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…

Hayley Kiyoko - Expectations

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.

Rating


‘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.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: InMe @ Patterns, Brighton – 28/10/16


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On 28th October 2016, InMe arrived in Brighton for the final date of their 20th Anniversary Tour and it was amazing! Supported by Empire and Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics, it was a concert not to be missed!

We were fortunate enough to catch Dave McPherson for an interview before the show, which you can check out here…he gave some great responses to the questions we asked and an awesome game of ‘Would You Rather…?’ was played!


Empire

Empire are a high-energy, in-your-face, hard-hitting metal band who kicked off the show with a massive bang. I loved the singer, Joe Green‘s intensity when performing and his funky moves were captivating. This is definitely a band to watch out for!


Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics

Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics were next to take to the stage and they made a huge impact on the audience, getting them worked up for InMe. The stage presence exuded from the lead singer by the bucket load and his voice was impeccable throughout the entire performance. They had some great songs and good banter with the crowd. Great set guys!

Highlight:

  • The singer, Aaron Buchanan, had a great vocal range!
  • The band played a great drinking game with the audience called Buffalo.
  • There was a great stage presence by all the band members.

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InMe

After two great support acts, InMe took to the stage to raucous applause from the audience who clearly couldn’t wait to celebrate 20 years since the bands creation and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Performing a whole host of songs from their debut album, Overgrown Eden, up to their most recent release, Trilogy: Dawn the band showed off an impressive array of tracks from a now, rather vast catalogue. Fans were particularly excited by performances of iconic tracks like ‘Lava Twilight’, ‘Firefly” and ‘Underdose’ from the band’s debut album and were chanting along to ‘7 Weeks’‘Safe In A Room’ and ‘Faster The Chase’ taken from the hugely successful White Butterfly.

Dave had the audience enraptured by not only his stage presence but his between-songs banter, telling the crowd the meanings behind some of the songs, thanking his fellow band members (in particular, drummer Simon Taylor, for “spending the last 20 years looking at my [Dave’s] backside”) and even telling the audience where they’d be after the show, so fans could come and chat/have a drink.

This band certainly deserve every success they have due to the loyalty they show their fans, fantastic craftsmanship behind their songs and their impressive, passionate and intense performances; here’s to another 20 years guys!

Highlights:

  • Dave’s incredible ability to switch between singing and screaming is just a marvel to behold!
  • The vocal harmonies between Dave and Greg McPherson were amazing; spot on!
  • The set spanned the length of their career (from Overgrown Eden to Trilogy: Dawn) and had the audience captivated throughout.
  • Good chat between songs and explanations about some of the reasons various tracks were written.
  • The band were very open to having fans come and hang out with them after the show, telling them where they were going for drinks – a really great, open and honest interaction with their fans.

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 Setlist

Myths & Photographs
Ferocity In Desire
7 Weeks
Lava Twilight
Nova Armada
Hymn: Ivory Elder
Safe In A Room
Her Mask (P.A)
Firefly
Reverie Shores
Legacy
Creation: Amethyst
Reverie: Aquarium
Underdose
Faster The Chase


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Jamie at Wall Of Sound for setting up this review and interview, thanks to InMe for putting on a great show and to Dave for doing the interview with me!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Timbaland – ‘Don’t Get No Betta’ featuring Mila J


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The super-producer that is Timbaland is back!

Although his own material has been somewhat sparse and quiet for a while, he’s been incredibly busy producing music for the hit US television show, Empire and of course, producing music for other people. Recently and most notably, he produced Michael Jackson‘s Love Never Felt So Good which featured Justin Timberlake.

Now he’s back and gearing up to release his fourth studio album, Opera Noir, and this single is quite a nice way to start your week – it’s got that trademark Timbo sound; but on the quieter, calmer side of his work. Mila J‘s vocals are beautiful and the video is pretty cool too!

I’m pleased he’s back and can’t wait to hear more of his upcoming album!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Don’t Get No Betta’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dont-get-no-betta-feat.-mila/id1082878774