Rina Sawayama blesses us with her latest genre bending record SAWAYAMA. This album fuses heavy rock, house, pop, industrial electronic and 90s electro-dance. Dynasty is the opening track, a cinematic piece that starts quietly but erupts into a heavy rock anthem. This aggressive rock motif is carried further on STFU!, a jarring, hyper-volatile track where the instability of the verse/chorus genres coupled with the unusual harmony make for an interesting listen.
Things take a stylistic turn on the album’s hit single Comme des Garcons (Like the Boys) which opens with the mix engineer asking ‘can I just record you doing that?’ This song is a true pleasure to listen to, featuring a mixture of funk, house, pop, disco all held together by a tight modern production. The chorus’ lyrics ‘Comme des garcons… like the boys, like the boys… I’m so confident’ are catchy and delivered with spitfire accuracy.
Love Me 4 Me is a self-esteem boosting, body-positivity gem, wrapped up in a litany of vintage production elements. This track has all the makings of a 2020 pop hit: Yamaha DX7 electric pianos, Fairlight CMI orchestral hits, vocal Lombard rhythms and a hint of early 2000s Europop. Things get sentimental and reflective on Bad Friend, the record’s ballad. The pre-chorus vocoder layered vocal is a lovely touch that adds a cosy atmosphere to the track. The song is a continuous crescendo that erupts into the penultimate chorus, before a lush gospel choir chants ‘puts your hands up if you’re not good at this stuff…’.
Sawayama excels at this form of self-reflective electro pop, more so than on her industrial, electronic rock sounds. While this may be the case, we enjoy the diversity of this record that encapsulates such a broad range of styles: There is a song for every taste, genre and mood. We’re sure you’ll find yours.