Hayley Kiyoko (or “lesbian Jesus,” as her fans have deemed her) delivered her debut album Expectations today (Mar. 30). The record solidifies Kiyoko as one of the few modern artists who is able to unapologetically capture the queer female experience through pop music.
The production ranges from radio-ready, synth-heavy on tracks like “Curious” and “He’ll Never Love You (HNLY)” to more atmospheric numbers like “Molecules” and “Mercy / Gatekeeper.” While the album is a triumph from start to finish, the clear standout is the Kehlani-assisted “What I Need.” Like Halsey and Lauren Jauregui’s 2017 team-up “Strangers,” the track benefits from having two strong, queer women trading verses about love.
“What I Need” tells a story that’s all-too-familiar for LGBTQ people: Kiyoko and Kehlani trade verses about needing their partner to fully embrace their sexuality rather than play games. On the hook, Kehlani sings, “What I need, what I need, what I need/ Is for you to be sure,” while Kiyoko shows her frustration in lyrics like “When we're all alone, girl, you wanna own it/ When we're with the fam, you don't wanna show it.”