Autumn is closing in rapidly, but thankfully we have Rina Sawayama’s midtempo pop jam “Cherry” to remind us what Summer feels like. Japanese-British singer/model Sawayama made a splash last year with the release of her self-titled debut EP Rina, but it’s nothing in comparison to tidal wave she could be set to summon with this tune.
On “Cherry,” Sawayama teams back up with her frequent collaborator Clarence Clarity to create a smooth and bright slice of R&B-pop. The single pulls from a number of Nineties influences — everything from the spoken “Hello?” phone call missed connection at the beginning to the echo-y line repetition feels like refreshed nostalgia.
Lyrically, the song has the pop star getting caught up in feelings for a subway crush. That one look made Sawayama feel like she was “17 with no ID,” though the fact that she continues to keep thinking about this stranger’s “girl gaze” makes her feel like she’s cheating on the person she’s currently seeing. Capturing such complex feelings in such a catchy, simple pop tune is no easy feat, but Sawayama makes it seem like she could do it in her sleep.