I’m declaring a national emergency. How can the United States truly progress as a country when our national state of pop is continually destroyed by sensational foreign artists?
Every corner of the pastel-colored pop landscape is controlled by foreign agents. Lustrous emotional tunes about youth? New Zealander Lorde owns that throne after last year’s “Melodrama.” Latina-flavored bangers? If you think Camila Cabello doesn’t own that, you need to book a one-way trip to Havana ASAP. Hayley Kiyoko is making one hell of a push to be the next global star, making waves on this side of the sea.
Just the fact that Kiyoko has made it to an album release of this magnitude says a lot about her resolve. This comes down to one fact - Kiyoko identifies as lesbian. Although mainstream songs have gotten more and more androgynous over the years, it’s not hard to tell that the average love song on the pop radio is by straight artists for a straight audience.
Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Boy doesn’t like girl. Girl doesn’t like boy. Rinse and repeat.
“Girls Like Girls,” was Kiyoko’s breakthrough single from her 2015 EP “This Side of Paradise.” It was a bold start to a promising musical career, and no one knew that more than Kiyoko herself, with lyrics like “Stealing kisses from your Mrs./Doesn’t make you freak out?” and ”“Tell the neighbors I’m not sorry/If I’m breaking walls down.” When you’re that open about yourself in your lyrics, you’re not afraid of stardom. Just over two years later, Hayley Kiyoko is ready to cement herself in the mainstream with her full-length debut, “Expectations.”
And it bangs.
Although the album as a whole doesn’t bring any crazy new production to the table, the lyrical content delivers in full. The third and final single “Curious” is a self-respect anthem and one of my personal favorites on the 13-song track list. With prying lyrics like “Did you take him to the pier in Santa Monica?/Forget to bring a jacket, wrap up in him 'cause you wanted to?/I'm just curious, is it serious?,” it’s already made its way to your “Jealousy” playlist. A new song that shines through the already-strong playlist is “He’ll Never Love You (HNLY),” which is one of the pettiest, biting diss tracks I’ve heard in quite some time. It tells the tale of an unnamed girl who balked at coming to terms with her sexuality ('Til you realize, he'll never love you like me?/He'll never love you like me). “Expectations” is a refreshing turn in the pop landscape, and it won’t escape my playlists anytime soon.
Hayley Kiyoko will be at the Paradise Rock Club and TD Garden in Boston on June 15 and July 25, respectively for her aptly titled “Expectations North American Tour.” The album certainly surpassed my expectations, that’s for sure.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.