SINGLE REVIEW: Rina Sawayama – This Hell

Rina Sawayama is no stranger to crossing genres and pulling out references intended to surprise, confuse, and wow listeners. Following the critical acclaim of her 2020 debut album ‘SAWAYAMA’, and her recent Europe and North America tour, the Japanese-British singer-songwriter has announced the release of her sophomore album ‘Hold The Girl’ for September 2. 

Lead single ‘This Hell’ is a bold and transformative track that heralds in this new era with confidence and an important sentiment of empowerment. It’s the Born This Way of 2022 with its strong thematic lyricism and anthemic production pulsating throughout the duration. Beginning with an eerily similar synth sample to the opening of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, along with a groovy guitar riff, she ignites this grand production that melds the country and pop worlds together. Sonically this may not have been the way you expected her to kick off her new album cycle, but that’s why it works so well. She keeps you on your toes and guessing where she’s going next while captivating you from start to finish with a flawless delivery. 

Playing commentary to the injustice and rights being taken away from the LGBTQI+ community through religious beliefs, she explores the concept of being told we are going to hell for just being ourselves. Acknowledging that we are all in this together as a community she notes that hell is better with each other. “This hell is better with you. We’re burning up together. Baby, that makes two. ’Cause the Devil’s wearing Prada, and loves a little drama, ooh ooh” she sings. She even ties in the country-pop sonical reference by paying a nod to Shania Twain with the infamous use of “Let’s go girls” at the start of the song. 

‘This Hell’ is an immersive listen with its impressive contrasting and layering that will have you constantly discovering different elements. It’s an empowering track that is addictive and will have you ready to dance right down to hell.