#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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*UPDATE* #Playlist: Save A Life – How Music Helped Save Me…


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22nd December 2017

The idea for this post came about whilst I was contemplating creating the annual Christmas playlist I’ve done since I started Muzik Speaks back in 2015, but I quickly realised that I was purely doing it because of the time of year and with the thoughts that as a music blog, I should probably pump out something Christmassy.

Inside though, I’m just not feeling like celebrating Christmas this year and truth be told, I’ve been through a very dark patch for a few months now.I began this blog as a lover of music (ever since I can remember) but also with the old saying in mind that “music speaks louder than words” and I truly believe that in many ways, it does…hence the blog name!

However, since September this year, I was propelled into an incredibly difficult place and since then my head has gone through a very dark, deeply depressive and isolated state and it’s only now, that I’m starting to see some distant, very small rays of light at the end of the long, outstretched tunnel ahead, but with those rays, they have brought just a scrap of positivity into my life.

During the period I mentioned, one of the first things to take a hit was my passion for music – something which has always been an obsession of mine, and looking back, that was a key indicator that I was suffering from depression, although I couldn’t recognise it at the time. I’ll be honest and say that at my lowest point, for a couple of weeks or so, I contemplated suicide almost every day, for what I was being put through and how I was being treated and self-harm was something that alleviated just a tiny bit of the desire/waves of compulsion I felt, to end my life. I wish I hadn’t I let myself get to that stage now, and would never advocate someone do that, but I share this as a plea for people to seek support from whoever and wherever they can, to help give them some much needed strength during their darkest times.

As cliché as it sounds, the song ‘1-800-273-8255’ by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid came into my life by happy accident and instantly made an impact on me – it truly kept me going for a couple of weeks straight.

And then slowly but surely over the last few weeks, my passion for music has been really reignited – by mainly angry/empowering rock songs at first; Thirty Seconds To Mars‘This Is War’ was on repeat for a few days and then more recently, Linkin Park‘s ‘Faint’. The tone to those two songs really helped me to channel the anger I was feeling about the place I was in and charged me up with a little renewed strength.

However once I’d started to get over the anger, I began to truly take time to reflect where I was at with my mental state and objectively begin to deal with my dark thoughts and the things that were eating me up inside. It was at that point that a whole host of songs began to play their part in reshaping me and helping me to truly confront with what I was going through.

That is why I decided to create a playlist that is very personal to me and filled it with the songs that had a hand in keeping me alive, helped me to regain a fraction of my normal self and begin to deal with things, each in their own unique way.

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I guess in some way, I’m hoping that this playlist will reach even just one person who is going through a similar rough patch and that it helps them to fight back against their depression and regain their confidence and love of life, or that someone who has already come out the other side can relate to this and appreciate the songs for their unique qualities, thought-provoking lyrics and/or empowering styles.

I should add that I have been very lucky to have my partner, family, some good friends and even my dog (not that she’ll ever know it) to support me through this bleak time and they too have played a vital role in helping me get through this.

Additionally, I sought some counselling – at first it was over the phone but I quickly found that I was craving some human interaction and so went to meet a counsellor and that too has been invaluable to helping me, so I recognise that whilst it’s not entirely the music that has helped me, it was during the times, when I was alone, that this music kept me company, provided me with time to think and played a vital role in aiding me to recover some of my former mental well-being.

I just think that at this time of year, people can feel so alone and having been through what I have, I understand that not everything is joyous for everyone at Christmas time and so I am hoping this playlist will provide something different for people who are feeling down, depressed or suicidal and that it might provide some sort of pick-me-up that you might need or that my story or the music strike a chord with someone and give them something to stop and think about.

My message to anyone who is struggling is just know that things can get better if you hang in there. Believe in yourself and most importantly, take each day as it comes. Fill your time with things you enjoy doing, however small or simple – embrace them. Talk to whoever you feel comfortable talking to, whether it be friends, family or someone anonymous via a helpline – don’t bottle things up. Find joy in music you love, films you enjoy or any other things you like to do and try to take your mind off what you’re worrying about and try to envisage what a happier future would look like.

Finally, I really would like to take the time to ask you to donate to a good cause – if you are going through something similar to me, you have already been through it and managed to come out the other side or even just that you have enjoyed this playlist or felt something for my story, then please visit our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/muzik-speaks or www.papyrus-uk.org/donate (please quote Muzik Speaks somewhere in your donation) and make a donation – £5 is enough to pay for one phone call, text or e-mail with a young person – you truly can help ‘Save a Life’.
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*UPDATE* – 8th July 2018

Life continues to get better, but I still find I have to take it day by day. My journey through fighting what I’ve been put through continues, but music is certainly helping to empower me. Sure, I still find I have ups and downs and there are certainly days where dark thoughts pass through my mind and there are definitely times where I’m consumed by rage but I suppose that’s all part of the healing process.

I also have to reflect on the good things in life; my loving partner, my beautiful dog and companion, my wonderful family, my ever-supportive friends, music, this blog…there’s lots to be positive about! That’s so important when you’re finding life tough – no matter how hard it is and how hopeless you might feel, take just a minute to try and find something positive, no matter how small it may be and reflect on that. Try to push the dark thoughts out of your mind (or at least to the back of it) and know that life can get better, you just have to hang in there.

And talking. I still maintain that finding someone, anyone, you can trust and talk to, is paramount to fighting your inner demons. The old saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved,” is very true and should not be underestimated.

I feel this journey may continue for many months to come, until I feel fully back to my normal self, and so undoubtedly this playlist will continue to grow but in the months since I first posted this, I have found 10 new tracks that have continued to help me.From the beautiful William Ryan Key‘s ‘Vultures’ to the angry anthem that is ‘F.W.T.B.’ by Yonaka; Panic! At The Disco‘s ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’ is a satirical and uplifting track whilst A R I Z O N A‘s ‘Freaking Out’ helps with those times you just want to let loose and go a bit mental; music is really helping to heal some of the pain.

So, to all of those on this playlist, thank you for making your music. You don’t know how much you’ve helped, and continue to help!

Playlist

  1. Greyson Chance – Seasons
  2. Logic – 1-800-273-8255 featuring Alessia Cara Khalid
  3. You+Me – Open Door
  4. Kesha – Praying
  5. Years & Years – Eyes Shut
  6. Demi Lovato – Skyscraper
  7. Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You
  8. Kyan Palmer – Burn Mona Lisa
  9. The Fray – How To Save A Life
  10. Angels & Airwaves – A Little’s Enough
  11. SafetySuit – These Times
  12. Jessie J – Who You Are
  13. Nicki Minaj – Fly featuring Rihanna
  14. Thirty Seconds To Mars – This Is War
  15. Linkin Park – Faint
  16. Yellowcard – Fighting
  17. Story Of The Year – Can Anybody Hear Me
  18. Jimmy Eat World – Electable (Give It Up)
  19. Angels & Airwaves – Lifeline
  20. Good Charlotte – We Believe
  21. SafetySuit – Looking Up
  22. Remedy Drive – Daylight
  23. Bars & Melody – Scream
  24. MUNA – I Know A Place
  25. Kesha – Learn To Let Go
  26. Superfruit – Future Friends (Brian Robert Jones Choir Remix)
  27. You+Me – Unbeliever
  28. You Me At Six – Carpe Diem
  29. Simple Plan – I Don’t Wanna Be Sad
  30. OneRepublic – I Lived

Update – July 2018

31. William Ryan Key – Vultures
32. A R I Z O N A – Freaking Out
33. Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
34. The 1975 – Give Yourself A Try
35. YONAKA – F.W.T.B.
36. Good Charlotte – Actual Pain
37. Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
38. Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
39. Panic! At The Disco – (Fuck A) Silver Lining
40. SafetySuit – Victory


If you have a story you are willing to share or you want to discuss anything in this post, then please leave a comment; I would just ask that you remain sensitive with what you write on this post please. I also urge you that if you yourself are feeling suicidal or you are concerned about someone, to please call PAPYRUS on 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or e-mail pat@papyrus-uk.org – whilst I am always happy to talk, I’m not a trained professional but people at PAPYRUS are, and will do their best to help.