Pixels, stay calm — a new Rina Sawayama era is upon us. Nearly two years after her riveting Sawayama debut (and noteworthy collaborations with Charli XCX, Pabllo Vittar, and Elton John), the “XS” songstress is back in album mode. And of course, I’m down for the ride.
On May 18, Sawayama dropped her explosive track “This Hell,” which served as the lead single from her forthcoming album, Hold The Girl. Though the album won’t be gracing our ears and filling our end-of-year Apple Music Replay playlists until September 2, she’s steadying our thirst with a compelling affirmation steeped with iconic references. Plus, on June 15, she released a thrilling music video for the country bop.
In her usual genre-bending fashion, this single has Sawayama uprooting “community and love in a time where the world seemed hellish,” as she expressed on Twitter. Produced by Clarence Clarity (whose experimental chops can be heard throughout Sawayama’s first album) and Paul Epworth, her buttery voice floats well on this arrangement, which is an eclectic fusion of pop-meets-country with some glam-rock riffs. She opens the track with a breathy “Let’s go, girls,” an ode to Shania Twain, before confidently giving a middle finger to those who refuse to accept her chosen family. Or in her words, her queer brothers and sisters.
Sonically, this glam-country anthem is an ultimate banger. In a press release for Fader, she expressed how much she wanted to explore the honky-tonk genre, especially with a message as powerful as this. She explained: “The past couple of years I’ve been listening to lots of female country singers and wanted to write a euphoric and tongue-in-cheek country-pop song. Country music at its core to me represents comfort, brilliant storytelling and authentic expression of the writer’s reality.”
She continues to lace pop culture moments throughout the track, such as a nod to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and Paris Hilton’s signature ‘That’s hot!’ catchphrase. She even dedicates the beginning of the track’s second verse to icons such as Princess Diana, Britney Spears, and Whitney Houston, crooning: “Flame red carpet moment, posing for the paparazzi / F*ck what they did to Britney, to Lady Di, and Whitney / Don’t know why we’re here, but might as well get down and dirty.”
Here’s everything to know about Sawayama’s next musical venture so far.
Sawayama’s Hold The Girl Release Date
The album is confirmed to release September 2, 2022 via Dirty Hit.
Sawayama’s Sophomore Album Cover Art
Alongside her single release, the “Comme Des Garçon” vocalist unveiled the official cover art for the upcoming album. Creatively directed by Chester Lockhart, Sawayama is perched in front of a spicy red backdrop, cloaked in a gorgeous, signature Terrence Zhou balloon dress.
What will the tracklist for Hold The Girl look like?
Sawayama has yet to share the official tracklist for the album. However, Apple Music lists that the record will have 12 songs, with “This Hell” as the third track. On May 19, Sawayama performed the groovy single on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, dotting the performance with pleasingly fiery surprises... literally.
Music Videos for Sawayama’s Hold The Girl Era
A hoedown wedding has never looked better than this one. To kick off her already promising era, Sawayama released a glamorous MV for “This Hell” on June 15. With those knockin’ guitar riffs pumping in the background, the video offers a front-row view to the crooner’s lavish wedding. Or should we say, her ride into “eternal damnation.”
The video is a nod to supporting LGBTQ+ rights, a topic Sawayama wanted to centralize in the track. In a press release to Fader, she said, “It’s an important song for me given the human rights that are being taken away from minorities at a rapid rate in the name of traditional religious beliefs.”
The visual begins with her wedding gown being delivered to her hotel room door. Just as those riffs swell to the first beat drop, Sawayama slips into the all-white western ensemble, which features a corset, a wide-brimmed head piece with a veil, and cowboy boots. She takes a champagne-induced limo ride to the ceremony, soon arriving to the venue where protestors are hoarding signs of disapproval. Completely unfazed, Sawayama trots down the aisle and bursts into two-step choreography before saying her vows.
The hoedown festivities continue at her reception (which, I’m a little jealous I didn’t get an invite to). She eases in three more outfit changes throughout the video, such as a cherry red latex number, a red-collared Valerievi Milano top and cowboy boots, and a denim-meets-rhinestones moment.
Sawayama’s Hold The Girl Teasers
Two days before the single release, the singer dropped a short visual teasing the new era. In an almost rock ‘n’ roll-induced hallucination, different clips of Sawayama smizing at the camera, quickly swaying in front of bright lights, and a barren farm house are shown. While these gritty clips roll, an electric guitar snippet from the single pulses through to the end of the video.
Sawayama’s Hold The Girl Tour Dates
Following the release of her single and album announcement, Sawayama unveiled a short tour announcement that mostly covers the U.K. It’s not yet confirmed if she’ll be extending this tour to other locations, similar to her Dynasty tour, which boasted two legs across Europe and North America.
This article was originally published on