Rina Sawayama - SAWAYAMA
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2020 Ratings: #27 / 809
Year End Rank: #11
User Score
2020 Ratings: #7
Liked by 347 people
April 17, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Dirty Hit / Label
R&B, Dance Pop / Genres
rina.online / Website
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From the raucous nu-metal to glittering R&B, ‘SAWAYAMA’ is an honest, genre-exploding self-portrait. Drawing on every aspect of her identity, Sawayama creates an expansive musical account of her personal history, all bolstered by her impressive experimental song-writing techniques.
There’s a lot to take in on Rina’s debut. It’s completely bonkers, but she slides into every style perfectly. Seriously, her versatility is something a lot of the pop crop wish they had.
Q Magazine

Perspicacious and personal, cool and colossally enjoyable, Sawayama is both a triumph over trauma and a paean to the power of effervescent pop in practically all its forms.

Consequence of Sound

SAWAYAMA pushes the boundaries of what pop music can be, discussing complex and intimate topics with insight and freshness.

The Line of Best Fit
Ultimately, this deftly intelligent record takes personal and musical themes, and presents them in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s ever been done before.

Raw artistry paired with rich heritage makes for a magnificent, spine-tingling first album for Rina Sawayama.


Sawayama is perhaps the first clear-cut pop album of serious importance to come out of the Anglosphere this year.


Sawayama is an exhilarating reminder of a bygone time when boy bands ruled all and commercialism ruled the boy bands. That era is long gone, but that particular brand of maximalist pop is back, only better now than before.

The Skinny

This is a carefully crafted, complex pop record that benefits from the production contributions of industry heavyweights like Nicole Morier (Britney), but undeniably it’s the new-fangled delivery and star appeal of Rina Sawayama that gives this album its sparkling essence.


On an album with a lot to unpack, Sawayama is boldly eclectic and a statement piece from an artist not willing to conform, instead dedicated to nudge the boundaries of pop music.

With the slick pop production of contemporary Charli XCX, 'SAWAYAMA' is centred specifically on Rina's own personal struggles. It's a smart pop record that's doused in self-awareness but still direct in its assertiveness - and never not compelling.
The Independent

Rina’s mini album may have marked her out as one to watch, but SAWAYAMA stakes her claim as one of the boldest voices in pop today.

Rolling Stone
Incredibly, each song on Sawayama sounds like the type of music you dream of hearing at an unbearably cool party, meticulously unique and fun from second to second.
God Is in the TV

Overall SAWAYAMA is a fantastic album with very high highs that make the other tracks seem dimmer in comparison.  There are no bad tracks on this album and it’s a lot of fun to listen to from start to finish, however it could have been a masterpiece with a little selective editing in the second half.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Rina is fearless, whether she’s baring her skin and bones to listeners, or interpolating jarring guitar riffs with mellifluous melodies. Her boundless energy and sincerity make her performance across the record alluring, hypnotic, and completely intoxicating.
The Needle Drop
Rina Sawayama comes to us as a near-fully formed popstar on her debut album.
Spectrum Culture
The album’s varied assortment of genres further emphasizes Sawayama’s knack for pop of all forms.
Crack Magazine

Accelerating the maximalism of her 2017 mini-album RINA, SAWAYAMA is packed with sugary, sinister pop fantasies.


On this stunning debut, Sawayama captures Dua Lipa's future nostalgia and Poppy's metal-meets-pop savvy, rightfully making it her own with more depth, bigger thrills, and a limitless palette.

The Japanese-British pop singer’s debut is a Y2K flashback that’s as reverent of Evanescence and Korn as it is of Britney and Christina.
Beats Per Minute

While there are some tracks that could have been expended, that just wouldn’t be Rina’s style. She’s here to express her excessive, melodramatic, fun-loving, pain-harbouring persona in every single different way she can, without holding anything back – and SAWAYAMA should be celebrated for that.

Under The Radar
It is rare to see a debut album with such a fully realized voice and vision behind it. What’s more, she exorcises her personal demons amid some of the year’s best dancefloor-filling pop.
Loud and Quiet

That she’s been brave enough to excavate the arguably dated sounds of her youth for a modern re-versioning on her debut is testament to her bold character and vision. SAWAYAMA is Rina’s playbook; she makes music she feels like making.

Rina Sawayama is the best thing to happen to pop music since FKA twigs. No artist has me anticipating their next move more than Rina. Her "HYPERPOP" playlist on spotify is awesome too!
May the lord PLEASE bless Miss Sawayama with a viral Tik Tok hit so she can chart and receive the Grammy nominations she deserves. This shit is so powerful.
SAWAYAMA is a lively contemporary pop album, which has things to tell us, because behind the superstar and fairy-tale aesthetics, we feel a lot this human side.

To be perfectly honest, although the balance sheet of this album is positive when I think about it objectively, it's not the type of music that really makes me vibrate. A bit like Poppy's last album (although it's in a different register), I saw and felt many similar things on SAWAYAMA, that is to say a rather atypical character ... read more
The pop formula has been widely exploited in today's music scene as one of the most common musical tropes to grace the medium. It feels as if every time I turn on the radio, which is quite rare, I hear the same tracks over and over. While this definitely has something to do with the closed minds of the 'radio announcer people / disc jockeys', I think that pop as a genre is musically under-saturated.

And here waltzes in Ms. SAWAYAMA, and yes, I'm referring to both the artist and this record. ... read more
I wanted to listen to the leaks for this album so bad... so bad. But, I respect Rina Sawayama and instead waited until midnight to get to hear it when it officially dropped, and oh baby, it is good.

Personal Exposition:
I woke up about at 7:58am, two minutes before my attendance mandatory, zoom based college Spanish class. I was groggy, confused, and really just not feeling it. Classes continued until noon, and then I had a mandatory zoom work meeting at two. With four essays, ... read more
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Track List

  1. Dynasty
  2. XS
  3. STFU!
  4. Comme Des Garçon (Like The Boys)
  5. Akasaka Sad
  6. Paradisin'
  7. Love Me 4 Me
  8. Bad Friend
  9. Fuck This World (Interlude)
  10. Who's Gonna Save U Now?
  11. Tokyo Love Hotel
  12. Chosen Family
  13. Snakeskin
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Added on: January 16, 2020