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Hayley Kiyoko’s ‘PANORAMA’ fails to capture any momentum

Hayley Kiyoko’s ‘PANORAMA’ fails to capture any momentum

Hayley Kiyoko’s ‘PANORAMA’ fails to capture any momentum
August 07
12:00 2022

Since her 2018 release of “Expectations,” Hayley Kiyoko has long left fans wondering what was to come next. Her 2015 breakthrough with “Girls Like Girls,” the first of Kiyoko’s songs to discuss her queerness, went on to define her career. Leaving expectations high, many expected to see development in Kiyoko’s open lyricism.

Despite this, her latest project, “PANORAMA” fails to show much beyond what has already been seen from the singer-songwriter. Throughout the album, Kiyoko fails to retain the notable pop power she once held.

“PANORAMA” first gained online attention when Kiyoko’s latest music video began trending. A queer parody of “The Bachelor,” many found the video for her new song “for the girls” would mirror earlier success found with “Girls Like Girls.”

In reality, the song itself acts as almost a copycat of Kiyoko’s previous release. By grasping onto former successful attempts, she fails to show any hopes to expand creativity. By ignoring the “been there, done that” mentality, Kiyoko only further attaches herself to the perception of what once was.

Other tracks, like “luna” and “underground,” make attempts at progressing movement throughout the album. The songs themselves may serve as casual listens but fail to make any real impact. Both lyrics and production style continuously fall flat as the track list carries on.

Although “PANORAMA” struggles to meet the same impact as previous releases, Kiyoko still shows some skill in poppy bops. The opener “sugar at the bottom” demonstrates examples of the artist’s ability to craft catchy lyrics. A later track, “s.o.s.,” also matches the moods found in many of Kiyoko’s popular, summertime tunes. While nothing new, they serve as examples of the artist’s continuous attempts at making simple, yet effective earworms.

Overall, the album’s main issue is its failure to keep the momentum going. By the time it reaches the center of “PANORAMA,” the tracks are boring and borderline predictable. Unlike previous EPs, there is nothing new or groundbreaking hidden at the album’s core. The lack of memorable hits only furthers the listener’s disappointment, as it becomes more obvious that there will be no oncoming peak.

Toward the end of the record, with songs like “found my friends” and “panorama,” Kiyoko suddenly becomes more raw and vulnerable in her lyricism. Although this conclusion serves as a more open look into the artist’s own inspirations, it lacks impact due to previous stagnation. This makes it seem like a last-minute effort to salvage the impact of “PANORAMA” as a whole. Rather than coming off as genuine, the song placement feels like an attempt to manipulate the album’s overall lack of coherence

Based on the album’s ending, it seems Kiyoko originally planned to take her audience through a chronicled musical journey. This type of narrative allows the music to speak for itself and is important to artists and listeners alike.

However, as a result of Kiyoko’s scattered monotony throughout “PANORAMA,” it’s never exactly clear what the audience is meant to interpret before they reach the vulnerable closing. This only furthers the perception that Kiyoko’s lack of creative expansion resulted in lazy indecision.

Despite attempts at keeping up appearances through appealing music videos and catchy singles, Kiyoko actually does little to grow outside of her former self. While the artist still effectively appeals to her own cult following, there’s knowingly a low level of effort needed to keep one’s diehards happy.

With over five years in the solo artist scene, one would expect Kiyoko to attempt to break into other audiences’ radars. If “PANORAMA” stands as an example of the artist’s best play at development, people shouldn’t expect to see her move much further.

Samantha’s rating: 2/5

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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