Seeing an artist come into their own is always a welcome treat, especially if they're a newer face on the block. Former Disney star Hayley Kiyoko is ready to abandon that past and create something fresh and new, and she succeeds with flying colors. Hayley Kiyoko brings her unique sound to life in Expectations, drawing from the best of both indie and chamber pop to make some excellent pop music.
From the very beginning, it's evident Expectations is a pop album that doesn't want to be confined to any standards. Title track 'Expectations (Overture)' introduces the record with a dramatic and cinematic atmosphere, ambience leading into some chambery goodness. 'Feelings' follows up with similar ambience, but a punchy bassline and Kiyoko's half-dejected and half-wanting vocals. It's super funky and brings the album to a groovy and relatable start, Kiyoko chiming in the chorus: "I'm sorry that I care, it's really not that fair, I can't help but care." Punchy vibes are a staple throughout the album, coming back out in 'What I Need' with Kehlani and 'He'll Never Love You (HNLY)' towards the end of the record.
The way Kiyoko puts her emotions across is definitely what sells the record. When she has a message every part of the song works to strengthen it. 'Curious' is a great example. Every part of the song feels like its playfully curious, from the synths to the melodies. It's like the perfect summation of indie and alternative pop, with great verses and memorable hooks. 'Wanna Be Missed' takes on a much darker atmosphere, and the whole piece is very sensual. 'Molecules' feels like it builds itself up from one part into millions, just like its making up Kiyoko's body and mind, becoming huge and anthemic by the end. The vocal harmonies of 'Sleepover' help make the peaceful guitars and gentle atmosphere feel very innocent, while 'Under The Blue / Take Me In' progressively finds bliss as it builds with layers and layers epically. Every part of the music works towards the meanings of the song, which is an incredibly important part of pop music.
Hayley Kiyoko brings her unique sound to life in Expectations, a pop album that captures the essence of both the genre and artist perfectly. Every note works to empower the meaning of the song, and Kiyoko's voice is full of emotion with every word. It's like a living, breathing human, filled with different aspects of love and life. It's experiencing things for the first time and telling them back to us.
Favorite Tracks: Wanna Be Missed, Molecules, Curious
Least Favorite Track: xx
Rating: 86 / 100
Stream or buy Expectations on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: