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Rina Sawayama - Hold The Girl

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 8 / 11 / 2022

Rina Sawayama - Hold The Girl
Label: Dirty Hit Records
Format: LP


Catchy and infectious pop on latest album from UK-based but Japanese singer-songwriter and campaigner Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama campaigned last year for a change to the eligibility rules for UK music awards like the Brits and Mercury Prize. The singer was born in Japan and has retained her Japanese nationality – but she has been a UK resident for over 27 years. Because she remains a foreign national, Rita was excluded from consideration for UK music competitions. Elton John supported her lobbying and this led to an amendment whereby all long-term UK residents are now eligible for the major British awards. Rita was rapidly rewarded for her campaigning efforts when she received a nomination for last year's Rising Star award. Her latest album, ‘Hold The Girl’ may help her win more prizes. It is a tightly-crafted collection of catchy pop with influences from musical theatre (as seen in the title track). ‘This Hell’ is a plea for tolerance reminiscent of Lady Gaga's work. But Rina's own style is evident on several infectious pop numbers - singing about being happily raised by a single mother on ‘Catch Me In The Air’ and recalling her Cambridge student days on ‘Holy’. Rock ballad ‘Phantom’ is an entertaining pep-talk to Rina's younger self.... “If I could talk to you, I’d tell you not to rush...”. Perhaps because of her 27 years living in the UK's uncertain climate, Rina does have a fondness for meteorological metaphors. For example, there are rainstorms and blue clouds on ‘Forgiveness’. “blue skies, always there behind the rain” on ‘To Be Alive’ and on ‘Hurricanes’ there are “April showers finally making way for warmer weather.” Overall, though, ‘Hold The Girl’ is definitely a breath of fresh air!

Track Listing:-
1 Minor Feelings
2 Hold The Girl
3 This Hell
4 Catch Me In The Air
5 Forgiveness
6 Holy (Til You Let Me Go)
7 Your Age
8 Imagining
9 Frankenstein
10 Hurricanes
11 Send My Love To John
12 Phantom
13 To Be Alive

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