In the same way that fans were disappointed with Charli XCX's more poppy proposal recently with "Crash", perhaps many will feel the same with this album. Rina takes a different proposal from her predecessor and embraces a personality of a true pop vocalist of the 2000s, such as Kelly Clarkson. The production is certainly simpler than "SAWAYAMA" but in my point of view Rina's melodies and vocals are the golden key of this album. Choruses from singles like "Catch Me In The Air" and "Phantom" are a delight to listen to, being as smooth as butter and Rina's vocals more crystal than ever.
The strongest point of the album for me is the writing and narrative, better than "SAWAYAMA" in my opinion. The lycris of "Phantom" for example are heartbreaking and extremely relatable:
"I was wrong to assume, I would ever out grow you
I need you now, I need you close
How do you hold a ghost?
Inner child, come back to me
I want to tell you that I'm sorry"
Rina talks about how she realised as an adult that she has spent her whole life pleasing other people and not realising it, constantly pushing boundaries and not realising the difference between what she wanted to do and what other people wanted her to be. Morning the loss of her real self. A topic that's very discussed in this album and that I could talk for hours, just for how relatable it is to me.
In conclusion, "Hold The Girl" is a good follow-up to "SAWAYAMA", maybe not better in terms of innovation but with a concept and story-telling that can bring the attention of every true pop fan. In this album she's holding herself (allusion to the album cover) and realizing that she doesn't want to be her worst enemy anymore.
|1||Minor Feelings / 75|
|2||Hold The Girl / 90|
|3||This Hell / 85|
|4||Catch Me In The Air / 90|
|5||Forgiveness / 80|
|6||Holy (Til You Let Me Go) / 80|
|7||Your Age / 80|
|8||Imagining / 90|
|9||Frankenstein / 80|
|10||Hurricanes / 80|
|11||Send My Love To John / 75|
|12||Phantom / 90|
|13||To Be Alive / 80|