The song was announced on March 13, 2018 as part of the "#CountdownToExpectations" and was subsequently confirmed to be the fifth track off the album.
Mercy/Gatekeeper is the only song on Expectations where the lyrics came first. It’s a poem that came from Kiyoko's journal word for word at 4 AM. She described herself to be in a "bad place mentally trying to find the light" at that time. The song is supposed to help listeners through and remind them to keep moving forward, no matter how dark it gets. Hayley suffered a fall and a concussion on her 25th birthday and was subsequently diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Mercy/Gatekeeper is a track about her experience of healing, both with the effects of concussion and depression.
- "That song tackles depression that I had never experienced before. I have post-concussion syndrome. I hit my head two years ago, and it was a life-altering experience for me. And so from the beginning of the song, you hear on this person feeling hopeless and helpless and not being able to see and then, by the end, finding that light. And even though they haven’t gotten through the depression, and they don’t know where they’re going, they’re still moving forward."
- - Hayley Kiyoko to NPR
Hayley wrote this song while she was staying in the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.
- "When I was going through my concussion, I was journaling a lot, which was something I had never really done before [...] It was so therapeutic. This is the only song I’ve ever done where I wrote the lyrics first. I was in New York City. I couldn’t sleep, because I was in so much pain. It was 4am, and I was staring out the window. The lyrics for ‘Mercy’ are verbatim from that. I go into spoken word on ‘Gatekeeper’, which was another poem I wrote in extreme pain. This chronicles that time. It’s very special to me."
- - Kiyoko
- With a length of 5:44 it's the longest track featured on Expectations.
|March 30, 2018 • 48:37 • Atlantic • Empire|
|Released||Curious • Expectations (Overture) • Feelings • He'll Never Love You (HNLY) • Let It Be • Mercy/Gatekeeper • Molecules • Palm Dreams • Sleepover • Under the Blue/Take Me In • Wanna Be Missed • What I Need • xx|
|Unreleased||Blame Joy • Curious (Acoustic)|
|Hayley Kiyoko • Kehlani|