Days before her final tour date in New York, Rina Sawayama began a mysterious rollout for her forthcoming album Hold The Girl. Small pamphlets with the words “RINA IS GOING TO HELL” landed in the hands of fans starting May 11. Today (May 18), Sawayama ushers in her newest era with Hold The Girl, which arrives Sept. 2 via Dirty Hit. The album’s first single, “This Hell,” offers an explanation for the pop star’s paper trail.
Co-produced by Paul Epworth (Florence the Machine, Bloc Party) and longtime collaborator Clarence Clarity, “This Hell” kicks off with a nod to pop-country queen Shania Twain before launching into Sawayama’s unique take on the genre. Sawayama reflects on threats of eternal damnation aimed toward the LGBT community, and the pain the media caused Britney Spears and Princess Diana. Distorted guitars and hand claps create a thrilling empowerment anthem that’s equal parts country, pop and punk.
Reflecting on the process of writing “This Hell,” Sawayama explains:
I had so much fun writing “This Hell.” The past couple of years I’ve been listening to lots of female country singers and wanted to write a euphoric and tongue-in-cheek country-pop song. Country music at its core to me represents comfort, brilliant storytelling and authentic expression of the writer’s reality. I’ve been dreaming of working with Paul Epworth my entire career so I knew it was meant to be when we finished this song in a day. I put in as many iconic pop culture moments as I can, but the song is more than that.
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 is better with you.
Hold The Girl arrives two years after the singer’s critically acclaimed debut SAWAYAMA, which landed on our favorite albums of 2020 list. In addition to completing a successful North American tour, Sawayama also spent the pandemic collaborating with everyone from Elton John to Charli XCX. She will also be appearing alongside Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4.
Below, listen to “This Hell,” which you can also stream here, and preorder Hold The Girl ahead of its Sept. 2 release here. Keep scrolling to check out the album’s artwork.
Hold The Girl Artwork