#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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#ThrowbackThursday: Darren Hayes – ‘On The Verge Of Something Wonderful’


   

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It’s been a decade since Darren Hayes released the first single from his third album (This Delicate Thing We’ve Made), ‘On The Verge Of Something Wonderful’.

It is a truly captivating song with some fantastic trademark highs in Hayes’ voice – it’s a powerful and emotive track that really stood apart from the rest of mainstream music at that time, by reigniting the 80s sound. The track (and in fact the rest of the album) was recorded with the help of a 1983 Fairlight CMI synthesizer.

It reached Number 20 in the UK charts and not only did the song have a very 80s feel to it but so did the video. The music video contains a cameo appearance by Janice Dickinson and features Darren singing in front of a series of animated backdrops – it is reminiscent of the Max Headroom TV series, certain scenes from the film Electric Dreams and the graphics of some Atari brochures from the early 80s.

Do you have some great memories of this track? Have you got a #ThrowbackThursday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘On The Verge Of Something Wonderful’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/on-the-verge-of-something-wonderful/id717145078?i=717145484


#MellowMonday: Miley Cyrus – ‘Inspired’


   

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I absolutely love Miley Cyrus‘ voice – it’s so raspy and powerful – it’s truly unique!

After a couple of years out of the limelight, she has finally returned, first with Malibu‘ and now ‘Inspired’ (Surely this signifies a new album in the pipeline?) The song is full of honesty and a heartfelt message to make a change to the world and its environment; it’s a stunning track.

‘Inspired’ first debuted in the UK, at Ariana Grande‘s benefit concert, One Love Manchester, with an honest, emotional, acoustic performance (see below). Since then, she’s gone on to release the track but no official video has emerged yet; we’ll update you when one does.

What are your thoughts of Miley’s latest tune? Got a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Inspired’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/inspired-single/id1246354292


Inspired (Official Audio)
Inspired (Live at One Love Manchester)

#Two4Tuesday: Frankmusik – ‘Going Under’ & Disciples – ‘On My Mind’


   

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Frankmusik – ‘Going Under’

As you probably know by now, we’re big supporters of Frankmusik (check out our interview) and if his latest single (‘Going Under’) is anything to go by, that’s not going to dwindle any time soon.

The electronic artist has been going it alone, without a label, for some time and he’s still producing incredible music, growing and developing his sound with each and every release. The singer’s latest track is very different from his previous releases and has a much for edgy, underground vibe to it, but it’s epic – the instrumental drop is sick beyond belief; I defy anyone not to start skanking out to it!

Bring on the new music and the first of 2 EPs this year, SS17, on June 17th 2017!


‘Going Under’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/going-under-single/id1220779282



Disciples – ‘On My Mind’

Our second track today is ‘On My Mind’ by London-based trio, Disciples (consisting of Nathan Vincent Duvall, Gavin Koolmon, and Luke McDermott).

The trio’s deep house song, is somehow relaxing yet at the same time, danceable. It’s got a late-night summer feel to it. It’s the kind of track that would keep you going well into the early hours especially with the combination of harmonised vocals, repeating, “On my mind” – it’s truly quite entrancing.

This is a fantastic song; one I could quite happily listen to on repeat, for hours!


‘On My Mind’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/on-my-mind/id1203282773?i=1203283073


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: A R I Z O N A – ‘Electric Touch’


   

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A R I Z O N A are an incredible electro-pop band, who have over 200 million streams on Spotify, to date, and over 9 million monthly listeners, and signed to Atlantic Records just over 12 months ago.

They just dropped their latest single, ‘Electric Touch’ and it’s beautiful. A modern-day love song, crafted perfectly, with a little help from singer and songwriter, Julia Michaels.

Not only in the song incredible, but the music video is too – it is a moving video, starring a true-life young gay couple, and tells their story throughout. The couple contacted the band, asking for a short message, but in turn the band decided to honour them in a music video. It’s a real must-see, so check it out below.

In relation to the video, Hailee Ritcey (one of the two main characters in the story) shared the following on social media:

“For a long time this day has filled me with so much fear and anxiety. I’ve never been really sure what I would say, why I felt like I needed to post, or why it even mattered at all. It’s taken me a long time to come to this level of confidence with myself and with my relationship. I have been so lucky to have wonderful family and friends that have really helped me to this point. And I’ve realized the people that truly love and care about you always will, regardless. So a few months ago Carly and I took a trip to Seattle to see one of our favorite bands. Because their music means so much to us I decided to reach out to them. I knew it was a long shot to even get a response but then they took it one step further. They asked us to tell our story through their music. So this is my girlfriend. And this is A R I Z O N A. Thank you A R I Z O N A for creating this incredible opportunity for us and thank you for your music. So much love!”

What are your thoughts of this electronic band? Got a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Electric Touch’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/electric-touch/id1221577774?i=1221577961


#FeelGoodFriday: Superfruit – ‘Bad 4 Us’


   

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SUP3RFRUIT (Superfruit) started out as a web show, hosted on YouTube by Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi (originally known for their work in Pentatonix) but recently, the pair debuted their first track as a duo, ‘Bad 4 Us’, and it. Is. AWESOME!

The song is catchy and fun and it truly is the perfect debut track for the duo’s side project. After years of yearning from fans, it looks like the pair might finally be releasing a side project of music as the comment on the video states, ‘official music coming in 2017!’ Hopefully it won’t be long until more emerges from them, as this song is just awesome.

The music video is just incredible; it’s fun, interesting, funny and nostalgic of 90s video games…and openly makes reference to the pair’s sexuality. The duo’s heads work amazingly on the cartoon bodies and it’s been superbly animated.

Unfortunately, the song is currently not available to listen to on Spotify or for purchase via iTunes, so for now, you’ll just have to watch/listen to the music video below.

What are your thoughts of this incredibly catchy pop tune? Got your own #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend to us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: MUNA – About U

‘About U’ is MUNA’s must-have debut album – a thoroughly powerful and stunning release!


   

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In case you didn’t already know, MUNA are an American band consisting of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, who have been hard at work, crafting their own unique sound and brand of “dark pop”; this is their debut album, About U.

muna-about-u

About U is an incredible debut album; it’s production is slick and the lyrics are playfully honest. The band have ensured to steer clear of gender pronouns to ensure their songs are able to resonate with a person of any gender or sexuality, yet they still cover a wide variety of topics; relationships, heartbreak, regret, freedom and individuality. Yes, it’s an album predominantly about the ups and downs of love, but MUNA have definitely taken a refreshing stance on it.

What I love about this album is how the style of it flows superbly yet each song has its subtle gems in the production, that make each and every one of them stand out.

It features all the fan-favourites (So SpecialLoudspeaker(an unapologetic anthem for being your imperfect self – a real highlight of the album) and Winterbreak) as well as their newest single ‘Crying On The Bathroom Floor’, which is packed with melodrama. Then there’s the huge, hit single, I Know A Place which is pure pop perfection – it’s catchy as hell and the lyrics provide unity; it’s an anthem for the LGBTQ community and has provided a beacon of hope for those who’ve suffered horrendous attacks in recent times.

The band’s sound is stunningly well-crafted; from the huge, euphoric synths and drum pads to the subtle, endearing guitar licks, Katie Gavin‘s vocals weave beautifully across the tracks. At times she has a vocal style similar to that of Katy Perry and the use of vocoders is subtle yet haunting – very reminiscent of Imogen Heap.

Some of the stand-out tracks (besides the singles) include ‘Around U’ (an anthem of detachment; freedom from a former lover), ‘After’ (an exploration of the feelings you get from the morning after the night before) and ‘Promise’ (an admission of lies that have been told, after it’s too late). ‘End Of Desire’ and ‘Everything’ are fantastic songs too.

All-in-all, this album is the perfect debut and thoroughly deserving of the rating I’ve given it. There isn’t much I can fault with it. It almost allows you to forgive yourself for past mistakes you made and empowers you to take control of your life by embracing the highs and lows of love and relationships. A thoroughly powerful and stunning release. I honestly reached the end of the record and wished that they could release another album of new music next week!

Rating
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‘About U’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/about-u/id1171832662


About U on Spotify

‘I Know A Place’ (Official Video)

‘Loudspeaker’ (Official Video)


I hope you enjoyed ‘About U’ as much as I did! What are your thoughts? What would you rate it? Please leave a comment below or let us know 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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