Hayley Kiyoko, For the Girls


Heather Hopkins

Hayley Kiyoko on Stage (Photo by Heather Hopkins | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Heather Hopkins

Ebb and Flow

Hayley Kiyoko rounds out a powerhouse of a musical summer with her much anticipated sophomore album, “Panorama.” Just months after going public with her long-term relationship with former Bachelor contestant, Becca Tilley, Kiyoko has gifted fans a raw anthology of emotion.

Directed at an ex, “Sugar at the Bottom” opens “Panorama” with high confidence. However, in her honest nature the energy of the record ebbs and flows as does one’s mood swings. The artist moves through songs about pining, love songs and more tracks about an ex with a more wounded tone. All these themes are explored while Kiyoko stays in her signature pop sound.


The artist has lived four years of life between the release of her first and second albums. This is evident in the range of content explored on “Panorama.” Perhaps this range is the inspiration for the record’s title. It is typical for fans to wait for an album’s release and relate only if they have recently fallen in love, or also suffered heartbreak. Panorama is a more ubiquitous relatable listen, as it has a little something for everyone on the romantic spectrum. That is, it has a little something for all the girls, gays and theys.

Girls like Girls

Hayley Kiyoko on Stage (Photo by Heather Hopkins | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Kiyoko was one of two openers for Lauv on Sept. 7, 2022. She opened her set by thanking the crowd for being there, for all they’d had to overcome to be there. She then got very still and quiet, and said, “Before I start, I need to clear the air… I’m a… homosexual.” The amphitheater erupted in celebratory applause. She of course was being a bit silly as most of her fanbase knows this. But it was a powerful moment to experience as a collective. A declaration such as this is not something that two thousand young people could publicly applaud even 10 years ago. Queer people didn’t even have songs with pronouns that matched their relationships without artists like Kiyoko paving the way. Her 2015 hit “Girls like Girls” set the tone for queer music for the next decade. The energy was palpable in space when she ended her set with that crowd favorite, pride flag in hand.


My hope is that in another decade there won’t be a journalistic need for an article to even concentrate on an artist’s gender, or sexual identity. As it stands, there is a lot of room for progress. Yet, thanks to artists like Hayley Kiyoko, so much progress has been made in a relatively short period of time. As any marginalized person knows, music is medicine, best administered live. Watching Kiyoko rock Ogden Twilight felt like a wondrous opportunity for community healing.


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