Hayley Kiyoko strays from usual sound in EP

Hayley Kiyoko’s new EP “I’m Too Sensitive For This S--t” dropped Jan. 14 much to the excitement of her fans. The EP clocks in around 15 minutes, includes five tracks total and is just enough for me to want more. This EP is the first new music her fans have gotten since her 2018 debut album “Expectations” that included popular songs such as “What I Need” featuring Kelani and “Curious.” 

With the title of the EP alluding to her sensitivity, it makes sense how emotional this album is. While covered up with an upbeat pop sound, Kiyoko showcases some great lyrics in this album. Such as in “I Wish” when Kiyoko sings, “Sometimes I wonder if you'll ever love me ever / I wonder if I'm ever gonna find somebody / I cry, cry, cry, cry to the heavens / Why won't you just send me somebody?”

But, with all this emotion, Kiyoko’s EP also hints at where her musical style may be shifting towards--a more emotional, raw space with a heavier technical beat. Her upbeat pop sound is still featured, especially in the fourth song “I Wish.” In this track, Kiyoko mentions the mixed signals she’s receiving from her love interest, and how she wishes they had a better ending and relationship. Kiyoko sings, “I wish, I wish, I wish I found love / 'Cause I wake up, up in the morning time / And there's nobody here by my side.” 

“demons” strays from Kiyoko’s usual style the most on this EP--the rest of the songs are pretty in line with what I was expecting from Kiyoko but this one surprised me, especially because it’s the opening track yet the rest of the EP is devoid of the same emotion/sound featured in the first song. This song is reminiscent of something similar to what Billie Eilishmay release, with its darker lyrics and muted beat. 

“L.O.V.E. Me” is one of my favorite songs on the EP. It’s so insanely catchy and features the most unique beat and sound. This song features some of the things I love most about Kiyoko’s music with a good beat, exciting lyrics and fun to sing along with.

The last track “she” also shines on this EP--it’s been stuck in my head since I first listened. probably the best song and most likely to be the breakout single on this EP. I love the lyrics and it’s the truest to her usual sound, which I was excited to hear. 

The third track “runaway” wasn’t my favorite track, but it wasn’t my least favorite either. It’s a decent track but gets slightly overwhelmed by the rest of the EP. There wasn’t enough in this track for it to especially stand out. If I heard this song on the radio, I probably wouldn’t be incredibly interested in it. The high-pitched refrain “If you let me down / If you let me down” this is repeated over and over in the song is slightly annoying as well--I don’t think the song needed it at all and could have been improved without it. 

There’s a lot of experiment on this EP--which is exactly the point, as Kiyoko is seeing what works best for her. This increase in electronic elements and editing, such as the intro to “I Wish,” are all apart of Kiyoko finding herself and transforming her sound. While I’m not sure it’s entirely landing in certain songs or parts, I’m excited to see what Kiyoko does next in her music. Hopefully, she doesn’t leave her old sound behind entirely. 

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.

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