Rina Sawayama has delivered a reference-laden toast to a good life amidst so much chaos on her new song, “This Hell.” The track marks the lead single from Sawayama’s next album, Hold the Girl, out Sept. 2 via Dirty Hit.
“This Hell” finds Sawayama injecting her future pop bona fides with some classic Nineties country (there’s even a “Let’s go, girls” at the very start of the tune, a direct nod to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”). The rest of the song is a hook-laden rodeo ride through the current cultural landscape, featuring some righteous jabs at the paparazzi for their treatment of Britney Spears, Princess Diana, and Whitney Houston. But all of it is centered around a firm rallying cry: “This hell is better with you/We’re burning up together/Baby that makes two.”
Sawayama crafted “This Hell” with producers Paul Epworth and Clarence Clarity, with additional writing help from Vixen. In a statement, Sawayama said she set out to write a “euphoric and tongue-in-cheek country-pop song” with “This Hell,” adding, “Country music at its core to me represents comfort, brilliant storytelling and authentic expression of the writer’s reality.”
She also noted how she hopes the song offers some comfort in this particular moment of turmoil: “It’s an important song for me given the human rights that are being taken away from minorities at a rapid rate in the name of traditional religious beliefs, more specifically I was thinking about the rights being taken away from the LGBTQ community when I wrote this song. When the world tells us we don’t deserve love and protection, we have no choice but to give love and protection to each other. This Hell is better with you.”
As for Hold the Girl, the album will mark Sawayama’s second LP following her widely celebrated 2020 debut, Sawayama. Along with working with Epworth and Clarity, her frequent collaborator, the record features contributions from Lauren Aquilinia and Marcus Andersson.