March 26, 2018 Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations (Album Review)
The name Hayley Kiyoko may sound new to the uninitiated, but in fairness with the multi-faceted artist, she has been indulging in the music world since her childhood, albeit not within the commercial radar. When she was six, in 1997, she took drum lessons. When she was eight, she wrote her first song, titled “Notice.”
Fast forward, in 2007, Kiyoko was a member of the female Pop vocal group The Stunners. Soon afterwards, she embarked on a solo singing career – aside from other preoccupations like acting and leading various clubs and organizations at her school. In 2013, she released her first album, the EP A Belle to Remember. Two EPs more followed, 2015’s This Side of Paradise and 2016’s Citrine.
Finally, Kiyoko, who was born on April 3, 1991, in Los Angeles, California, United States, is ready to unleash her first full-length, which is long overdue, considering the gradual but expansive trajectory of her career.
Scheduled for release on March 30, 2018, on Atlantic Records, Kiyoko’s debut long-playing, titled Expectations, is an improvement of her previous works – more polished and fuller-sounding. The drama starts with the short, breezy “Overture” and then undulates into the Dance Pop mid-tempo “Feelings.” The bass-driven rhythm then bounces into the ensuing “What I Need.” The mood turns rustic and romantic with the soulful sway and pondering pulses of “Sleepover,” which exudes faint echoes of “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton.
“Mercy/Gatekeeper” and “Under the Blue/Take Me In” lure the listener to an extended trip to the laser-lit dance-floor, conjuring images of gyrating bodies, sweaty foreheads, and moving mouths and lips. Still in the same discothèque, the rhythm of the bass then becomes punchier and the beat more delightfully choppy as “Curious” plays next. Preluded by the short bit “xx,” the keyboard-led, ambient “Wanna Be Missed” and the R&B-dressed, horn-adorned “He’ll Never Love You” then continue the dancey, sexy vibes. The Disco beat of “Palm Dreams” then treats the listener to a nostalgic ride to the glorious ’80s – what some might describe as “Old-School R&B/Soul/Dance/Pop.
The penultimate track, “Molecules” is a back-to-the-future moment, with its thin glaze of Alternative Pop reminiscent of The Chainsmokers (“Closer”), Adele (“Chasing Pavements”), Chvrches (“Leave a Trace”), Demi Lovato (“Skyscraper”), and even latter Coldplay (“Birds”), especially when these artists are in the mood to dance mildly with their eyes closed, heads slowly bobbing, and hands waving in the air. Finally, Kiyoko finishes off her first offering with the celebratory, anthemic, and slow-motion balladry of “Let It Be.”
Many critics dismiss newcomers usually because they judge them based on only their meager information about them, assuming that these hardworking artists were mere flashes-in-the-pan. They do not even take the time to dig first into the career backgrounds and creative trajectories of such indomitable spirits.
Kiyoko is one of these artists who deserve support and accolades. After all, she has been busting her grooves and expressing her arts since she was a child. Her upcoming album is just a continuation of the passion that she has been engaging in since two decades ago – and most likely the start of something more substantial and grand for her. CrypticRock gives Expectations 4 out of 5 stars.