Destination Jam: Five Rina Sawayama tracks that’ll tease your dark side with a fresh take on pop genre

Noble Horvath

Rina Sawayama is all set to release her highly-anticipated docuseries ‘The Making of Sawayama’ on October 13. If you’re as excited as we are, what better way to get into a Rina Sawayama mood than with some of her best tracks. For those who aren’t acquainted with the rising pop […]

Rina Sawayama is all set to release her highly-anticipated docuseries ‘The Making of Sawayama’ on October 13. If you’re as excited as we are, what better way to get into a Rina Sawayama mood than with some of her best tracks. For those who aren’t acquainted with the rising pop phenomenon, our Destination Jam playlist is just what you need. Check out our top five Rina Sawayama songs.

‘Bad Friend’

A fan-favorite off her debut studio album ‘Sawayama’, ‘Bad Friend’ released in April 2020. In the contemporary R&B-tinged pop song, Sawayama recalls a momentous summer of 2012 she spent with friends with lyrics like “hot, crazy and drunk, five in a room. Singing our hearts out to Carly” before the chorus “I’m so good at crashing in. Making sparks ‘n’ s**t but then. I’m a bad, I’m a bad. I’m a bad friend.” The chorus instantly strikes as catchy with backing harmony vocals that sound like an Imogen Heap-painted number and the song shows promise that Sawayama’s music has a fresh take on pop genre.



 

‘STFU!’

With ‘STFU!’, the contrast from the previous softer track shows just how versatile Sawayama is. With its adoption of heavily distorted guitar riffs and booming nu-metal drums, it is a rare occurrence to find a pop singer who boldly takes on the sounds of metal music, yet ‘STFU!’ is pulled off gracefully. According to the singer, the song was inspired by “early 2000s pop-rock and nu-metal” such as No Doubt, Limp Bizkit, t.A.T.u. and Evanescence. Sawayama also noted that she “was really itching to do something that was inspired by like N.E.R.D. or Evanescence or like t.A.T.u., or some of the heavier Britney (Spears) stuff” and aimed to “shock people because (she)’d been away for a while.”



 

‘XS’

Another hit off her debut album, ‘XS’ released in March and the music video has already surpassed 4.6M views on YouTube, marking it the most-viewed video on Sawayama’s channel. In a statement, she has said that ‘XS’ “mocks capitalism in a sinking world” and the official video shares an apt message to convey that.

In the ‘XS’ visual, Sawayama portrays a “QVC-like” robotic saleswoman who attends a shopping channel broadcast and promotes a beverage named “RINA Water”, which consists 99% of 24-karat gold and 1% of plasma. Towards the end of the video, it is revealed that the liquid is extracted from a demonic creature (played by Sawayama as well) which is chained in an underground factory.



 

‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’

With a nostalgic trip to the sounds of early 2000s R&B, ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’ fantasizes about the affairs of online living and loving. “Came here on my own, party on my phone. Came here on my own but I start to feel alone. Better late than never so I’ll be alright. Happiest whenever I’m with you online,” sings Sawayama in the chorus over a thickened soulful beat and twinkling backing instruments. According to The Fader, the singer said, “‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’ is happy and sad, honest and autobiographical, and I feel like I’ve truly written from the heart from the first time. It took two years of rewriting and revising as I wrestled with the beauty and anxiety of digital life.”



 

‘Comme Des Garçons (Like the Boys)’

If it hasn’t caught your attention already, you’ll notice that Sawayama is just as passionate and artistic about fashion as she is about her music. A Japanese-born British singer, Sawayama is also a successful model. In the video, the singer wears stereotypical male clothing as she is being examined in a space-age lab. She then transforms into a high fashion look and gets propped up by throngs of men surrounding her in a multicolored landscape.

For ‘Comme des Garçons (Like the Boys)’, Sawayama blends genres such as disco, dance, funk, house, electro house and synth-pop into a record that fits into the club scene or as the music to a fashion show.



 

Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!

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