Let me state a fact: Rina Sawayama is one of this generation’s best pop stars. Here is the evidence: her music videos, in which she flirts with technology and pushes throwback looks into dystopian, neon futures. Her music, which takes the rules of pop and crystallises them into subversive, pristine formations. Her live performances, which include the kind of choreography anyone born before 1999 will have practiced in their bedroom mirror. You know this. I know this. Now let’s get to the next thing: she just released a new track, “Cherry,” and you can listen to it below.
On the one hand, “Cherry” is fairly typical of what we’ve come to expect from Rina. Co-produced by frequent collaborators Hoost and Clarence Clarity, the song is a sugary slice of maximalist pop that pushes against the chorus-less, drop-heavy music that has dominated the charts in recent years. Clocking up at a digestible 3:25 minutes long, "Cherry" is a bright, glittering earworm, the kind that should be played out bedroom speakers while applying lipgloss, or else through portable speakers in parks surrounded by cans.
On the other, this is one of Rina’s more confessional creations to date. Perfectly articulating that very specific blend of loneliness and confusion – but also excitement – that most queer people will recognise from some point in their lives, Rina has given us a pansexual anthem that is both relatable and personal. “When they tell you that you’ve got to stay the same / even though you’re not yourself, and you’ve got somebody else,” Rina sings across bubbling synth lines, “When they tell you that you’ve got yourself to blame / even though it’s not you’re fault, but your heart just wants to know more.”
“I've always written songs about girls,” Rina told Broadly, speaking about the track and her own sexuality. “I don't think I've ever mentioned a guy in my songs, and that's why I wanted to talk about it. For me there's still a lack of representation. I just think the reason why I wasn't so comfortable with my sexuality was because there was no one on TV or anywhere that I could point at and go, 'Look mum! This person is what I was talking about!'"
Click here to read last year's Noisey profile on Rina.
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