Rina Sawayama: The Future of Pop

Rina Sawayama is a British-Japanese singer-songwriter, and her debut album, “Sawayama,” was released last year to widespread critical acclaim, and it even ended up No.1 on several publications’ year-end list of Best Albums in 2020. What exactly makes Rina Sawayama such an intriguing artist?

“Sawayama” is a genre-bending album, and it isn’t just because of the amount of genres that were used in the album, but how Sawayama presented it. The album has influences of pop, nu-metal, rock, R&B, EDM, and so much more. It’s impressive enough that Sawayama can pull off so many genres with her powerful vocals, but her real strength is combining different genres to convey the story she wants to tell. 

Take “XS” as an example, perhaps the most unique track on the album. The song combines early 2000s R&B and rock, with specific reasons behind it. Sawayama said that she wanted to write a song about capitalism and climate change, and she wanted the production to symbolize the chaos between the two subjects. The 2000s R&B symbolizes the time when everything seems right, and the rock guitar that comes in before the chorus is the destruction of climate change. The whole song is a push-and-pull between genres that reflect the topic.  

“Bad Friend” is another personal favorite of mine. The song is a synth-pop ballad that tells a story of a friendship that ended, but also about “Westerners coming to Tokyo being disrespectful towards Japanese culture,” according to Sawayama. It’s an incredibly vulnerable song which Sawayama demonstrated through the interesting production choices.

The vocoder that comes in the chorus symbolizes something that’s from the past, and the verse focuses more on Sawayama’s emotional vocals. The bridge took the song to another level with the use of a choir before coming back to the chorus one last time. Putting a choir in the synth-pop song is another bold, yet effective, choice. 

Singer Elton John even praises Sawayama, saying it’s his “favorite album of the year” during an interview. The two have since released a remix of her song, “Chosen Family” that celebrates both artists’ queer identities. Each song on the album sounds completely different from one another, and it tackles complex subjects such as family and identity while still following the pop formula. 

Rina Sawayama is reaching new heights in pop music by seamlessly blending genres together and presenting it in ways that have never been done before. I highly encourage everyone to listen to her music, and I’m excited to see where she goes from here.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Join Our Mailing List

    Recent Articles

    Taylor Swift Says She’s Never Heard of 3LW When Accused of Plagiarism

    Taylor Swift is personally responding to a plagiarism lawsuit. The country-turned-pop star is being sued by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the songwriters of the 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW. The 3LW song contains the lyrics, “playas, they gonna play” and haters, they going to hate,” while Taylor’s famous song ‘Shake it Off’ includes the lyrics “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

    Highlights From San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival

    The largest music festival on the West Coast, Outside Lands, took place this weekend at Golden Gate Park in the phenomenal city of San Francisco, with some of the biggest names in the music industry gracing the fog-laden stages and over 220,000 people in attendance.

    Lollapalooza 2022 Recap

    This year’s Lollapalooza music festival seemed to be a hit for anyone and everyone who went. With amazing performances from Metallica, Dua Lipa, Wallows, and J Hope, this year’s music festival was one for the books.

    Selena Quintanilla’s Family Announces Release Of New Music

    In an interview with ABC News, the family of Selena Quintanilla-Perez announced the release of ‘Moonchild Mixes,’ a collection of songs featuring digital alternations of vocals the late singer recorded as a teenager. The album is set to come out Aug. 26 through Warner Music Latina. The first single is a new version of “Como Te Quiero Yo A Ti” which has already been released on music streaming platforms.

    Beyoncé and ‘Break My Soul’ Enter
    Race for Number 1 This Week

    Following the release of her critically acclaimed seventh solo album ‘Renaissance’, the record’s lead single ‘Break My Soul’ could challenge long lasting champions LF System for Number 1 this week. According to reports, ‘Break My Soul’ is set to bounce from number 6 to number 2, but some expect it to go higher in the charts.

    Blackpink is Making a Comeback with New Music and Their Largest Tour Yet

    Blackpink is making a long-awaited comeback with new music and their largest tour yet! Blackpink is back in your area after their record label YG Entertainment announced the girl group’s latest comeback this Wednesday. Since they are in the “final stages of recording a new album,” new music should be expected in August. According to the press release, the band has been working on “a continuous large-scale project which will extend through the second half of the year.” YG Entertainment also announced that “Blackpink will also go on the largest world tour in the history of a K-pop girl group by the end of the year to expand their rapport with fans worldwide.”

    Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!