Rina Sawayama explores pop and pain in “Hold the Girl”


“Hold the Girl”, Rina Sawayama’s second studio album, is true to the artist’s exploratory musical style while exceeding expectations for the success of her debut album, “SAWAYAMA”. Like Rina, “Hold the Girl” explores the full spectrum of pop and pushes the boundaries of the genre all at once. The album consists mainly of pop, pop rock and dance pop. The album also dives into country pop with “This Hell”, hyperpop with “Imagination” and pop-punk with “Hurricanes”. The rock of the early 2000s also finds its place in the influences of the album. These influences are best seen in the rock core of the album in the songs “Hurricanes”, which draw on the early 2000s music of Kelly Clarkson, Paramore, Avril Lavigne and “Frankenstein”, which was heavily influenced by Sawayama’s love of indie. rock in the 2000s.

“Hold the Girl” explores two major themes throughout its stellar tracklist. The main theme of the album is the healing of trauma, primarily the healing of one’s inner child. The album delves into the trauma and shows kindness to the person we once were and helps that part of ourselves to heal. This theme is explored extensively through the titular single and “Phantom”. The secondary theme introduced in “Minor Feelings” and explored in more detail in “Send my Love to John”, is that our experiences are largely the result of the attributes we possess, such as race, age, and sexuality. . Notably, Sawayama’s personal experiences as a queer Japanese woman appear prominently throughout the album.

Each song on the album could have succeeded as a single and stood out in its own right, which can be attributed to each song occupying a different niche in a different subgenre. When put together, these unique standalone pieces make the themes of the album all the more poignant and really bring this powerhouse of an album together. “Hold the Girl” has the pop star quality, hook and creativity of any truly great album and further cements its place with the piercing emotivity it exhibits throughout. It’s an exploration of pop and a much deeper exploration of trauma and healing.

“Hold the Girl” really solidified Sawayama’s name in pop music and is an album that no matter how many plays you give it will leave you in awe and thinking “Ugh, finally some good fucking music “. She’s truly a masterclass in music, and proves she’s worthy of her Twitter handle: “RINA SLAYWAYAMA.”

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