Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Rina Sawayama has us burning up in all the best ways.
Rina Sawayama is one of the most exciting and dynamic pop girlies out there at the moment. She gives us choreography. She gives us camp. She gives us bright, colorful, inclusive bops, fueled by her keen sense of melodic construction and a healthy heaping of fun. Look at her indulgent and slyly anti-capitalistic “XS,” addictive “LUCID,” or her verse on Charli XCX’s “Beg For You” if you’re in need of a crash course.
With “This Hell,” she injects a touch of yee-haw into a summery pop jam, and the result is Shania Twain meets Lady Gaga (right down to a reference of the former’s iconic “Let’s go girls”). Sawayama has always been clear about the subject of her music — in one interview, she specified that she’s “always written songs about girls.” “This Hell” reclaims any ugliness that’s ever been thrown her way, spinning the cliche accusation that anyone in the LGBTQ+ community will end up on a certain side of the afterlife and turning it into the hottest invite of all.
In a statement about the song, she shared: “It’s an important song for me given the human rights that are being taken away from minorities at a rapid rate in the name of traditional religious beliefs, more specifically I was thinking about the rights being taken away from the LGBTQ community when I wrote this song. When the world tells us we don’t deserve love and protection, we have no choice but to give love and protection to each other.”
“This Hell” arrives ahead of her upcoming album, Hold the Girl, set to arrive in September. In the meantime, the “devil’s wearing Prada and loves a little drama” — and so do we.
— Mary Siroky