20GAYTEEN has arrived with Hayley Kiyoko at the helm. She emerged as a queer icon in 2015 with her hit single ‘Girls Like Girls’, loudly and proudly celebrating women who love women. Expectations was anticipated to explore Kiyoko’s sexuality further, and it hasn’t disappointed.
Kiyoko lovingly handcrafted the song order, encouraging fans to listen from start to finish to hear it as intended. The album opens with ‘Expectations (Overture)’, a stunning introduction which builds to a crescendo and flowing expertly into ‘Feelings’; a personal favourite, with an infectious chorus and upbeat rhythm.
She injects summer sounds and irresistible synth-pop beats throughout, melding lyrics and music to give listeners a sense of who Kiyoko is.
Kiyoko only features one other artist, Kehlani, who adds a new dimension to ‘What I Need’. The two women work together perfectly on the track, sharing their desires for their partner to embrace their sexuality and relationship.
The album feels like Kiyoko’s diary, sharing her struggles of yearning for her best friend, healing after an injury, blurry lines of attraction and handling a breakup. She injects summer sounds and irresistible synth-pop beats throughout, melding lyrics and music to give listeners a sense of who Kiyoko is.
The first album single, ‘Curious’, is both an infectiously catchy pop song and a call-out of a girl who’s hiding her romantic feelings for Kiyoko by dating a guy. After this, the album vibe changes and becomes softer, calmer, aided by the ‘xx’ interlude. Kiyoko’s voice starts off softly in ‘Wanna Be Missed’, imploring her lover to miss her and “say you can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t breathe without me”. ‘Let It Be’ ends the album with an emotional acceptance of a breakup, amplified by choral vocal support, showing she’s ready for a new beginning as the album ends.
Each song is raw and honest, often bringing queer experiences to the forefront, showcasing Kiyoko’s talent and identity. Expectations is an expertly crafted album which deserves adoration.