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Live Review: Rina Sawayama looks inward and upward on 'Cherry'

21 August 2018 | 3:16 pm | Holly O'Neill

In pop music's brave new world RINA SAWAYAMA is taking it back to its roots, channeling the 80's and 00's with a modern edge and candid introspection.

Pop music in 2018 cannot be concretely defined. It's grown from a one-size-fits-all genre into a dizzying style of music that shifts between lyrical styles, production influences and personal experiences antiquating the traditional concept of genre in the first place. However, London singer/songwriter RINA SAWAYAMA navigates this brave new pop world with ease, with her newest song 'Cherry' cementing her status as one of pop's brightest new stars.

Her debut album RINA was full of thoughtful yet abstract pop, articulating celebrity, love and life under the guiding hand of computer connectivity. On this release, she gets a little more personal, breaking away from the framing of 'society' and looking inward to reveal the thrills and confusion of infatuation and navigating her own sexuality.

Co-produced by HOOST and CLARANCE CLARITY, Rina shines over a beat that blends optimistic 80's tones and bright 00's pop songwriting staples with a sprinkling of modern maximalism. Her delivery channels both Britney in her airy runs and Justin in her robotic "will you be my baby" over Suit And Tie-esque stabs of horns.

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Under the gloss of mallet melodies and pop perfect delivery, Rina optimistically navigates her budding pansexuality. 'Cherry' is an endearing ode to the rollercoaster of emotions when you realise you might not be completely straight, flipping the boy meets girl trope of the era of pop that inspires her most on its head. The singer currently has a male partner and felt that it was even more important for her to reveal this side of herself on this track, as Rina explains “It’s the truth for a lot of bi and pan people—they don’t feel authentically queer when they’re in heterosexual relationships, and that is what the song is about.”

'Cherry' is the clearest representation of our modern pop age, as Rina Sawayama brings visibility to her experience over reverent pop production that references its history while shaping its future. You can stream or download 'Cherry' now on your music platform of choice right here.