Rina Sawayama is crafting a style of artistry that challenges any and all preconceived notions. On her newest single, “STFU!,” Sawayma blends the extremes of gentle pop with a frenetic taste of metal for a euphonious glam metal experience.
“STFU!” opens with an ear-melting guitar and thudding drums, setting the tone for the chaos that is to ensue. Quickly, Sawayama enters with nostalgic ‘90s pop vocals that nicely juxtapose the sound of the roaring instrumental. Suddenly, the track transitions to a brief pop takeover accompanied by dreamy synths, chimes, and much more subdued drums. Over the newfound soundscape, Sawayama melodically goods, “shut the fuck up” and “have you ever thought about taping your big mouth shut? / ‘cause I have, many times, many times,” all before the chaos of clashing instrumental continues.
Over the roaring guitar, Sawayama releases an ominous giggle that further adds to the nearly post-apocalyptic nature of the track. The unexpected departure from her noted amalgamation of early ‘00s pop and R&B feels wholly intentional.
“STFU!, Sawayama’s first single under British indie label Dirty Hit, is a much-needed lesson in how toxic it can be to normalize microaggressions. Sawayama spoke further on her first-hand experience with microaggressions during a supporting show for Charli XCX, sharing with the crowd,
“So, my name is Rina Sawayama, and I found out one label exec jokingly called me Rina Wagamama. I was pursuing a deal with them, but you know, that’s gone.”
In its entirety, “STFU!” is a special blend of metal of pop that results in a roaring anthem of chaos targeted against how we view and speak not just about Japanese culture but all minority groups. It is a hectic mix of wonder carrying a powerful message.
Watch the video for “STFU!” below: