Rising Japanese-British pop star Rina Sawayama isn’t one to shy away from the spotlight for long.
Just a few months after releasing her critically acclaimed EP, RINA, she released a one-off single for Valentine’s Day: “Valentine (What’s It Gonna Be).” Now she’s back with her new single “Cherry”–with no holidays attached to it this time around.
If her debut EP leans into 90s pop (think early Britney Spears, *NSYNC style production), “Cherry” takes the plunge and goes all in with her influences. Everything from the big booming hook to the slight voice modulation invokes a sense of nostalgia, recalling the simpler times of the turn of the century.
However, while the sound is largely era-specific, “Cherry” is an empowering, introspective millennial anthem. “Even though I’m satisfied / I lead my life within a lie,” Sawayama booms during the chorus. Later she follows up with, “When they tell you that you’ve got to stay the same / Even though you’re not yourself.” It’s a call for self-love, and to most importantly become comfortable with who you are despite what everybody else wants.
Although Rina Sawayama claims that she’s just an “Ordinary Superstar,” “Cherry” definitely proves that she won’t be for long.