Rina Sawayama’s debut album and everything else worth listening to today

Let this playlist be your essential gui-De to the best new music.

by Frankie Dunn
17 April 2020, 12:55pm

When we first met Rina Sawayama back in 2016 -- proclaiming her, ever astutely, as a one to watch, alongside Jorja Smith, AJ Tracey and Smerz -- we knew right away that she had the magic formula. The London popstar has since proven herself over and over: first with her RINA EP in 2017 (“Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” and “Ordinary Superstar” anybody?) and today with the release of her very exciting debut album, SAWAYAMA. “The album ultimately is about family and identity,” Rina says. “It’s about understanding yourself in the context of two opposing cultures (for me British and Japanese), what ‘belonging’ means when home is an evolving concept, figuring out where you sit comfortably within and awkwardly outside of stereotypes, and ultimately trying to be ok with just being you.”

Today’s playlist opens with what we consider to be an album highlight, the all-too-relatable “Bad Friend”. While you’ve got it on rotation, prepare for even more Rina via a music video for “XS”, due later today, in which she channels a home shopping channel host. “I WILL NOT STOP FEEDING U” she reassured hungry fans. And it’s true! She’ll also be joining i-D to discuss all things SAWAYAMA on our Instagram at 4pm GMT.

Elsewhere in this week’s playlist is “Idontknow”, the joyfully hectic track marking the long-awaited return of Jamie xx, and “Violence” by our pal Yung Lean. Cult 90s artist Fiona Apple put out her first album in eight years, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, and it's definitely one for listening whilst wandering about on your daily government-approved outside time. If that wasn't enough there's also new Kid Cudi with “Leader of the Delinquent”, RIMON’s “Out of My Way”, girl in red’s “midnight love”, Kehlani’s “Everybody Business” and, quite frankly, nothing but good stuff from start to finish. Get stuck in.

Rina Sawayama
New Music Friday