Elton John names Rina Sawayama’s debut record his favourite album of the year

He said it's the "strongest album of the year by far"

Elton John has dubbed Rina Sawayama‘s debut LP ‘SAWAYAMA’ his album of the year thus far in the latest episode of his Apple Music radio show, Rocket Hour.

Speaking with Sawayama over FaceTime, John said, “Hi Rina! It’s so wonderful to talk to you because so far you have made my album of the year. This is my favourite album of the year.”

“Stop it, no way,” said Sawayama in response.


“It’s a phenomenal record. We’ve been playing a lot of it on our show…you’re on my bucket list because I wanted to talk to you because I’m so fascinated about you,” John continued.

He went on to say that while he loves The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours‘ and Perfume Genius’ ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately‘, ‘SAWAYAMA’ is “the strongest album of the year by far”.

“It encompasses so many styles of music. ‘Bad Friend’, for example, is a song that Madonna would die for,” he said.

Sawayama then went on to explain the concept for the recently released music video for ‘Bad Friend’.

“When I wrote that song, I was like I can imagine the video for this being…a long take, zooming in and out, people coming in and out of the frame,” she said.


“A Japanese salaryman sitting at a bar, alone, and it would just tell his story through the people coming into the frame.”

Sawayama went on to say that the video’s director Ali Kurr, who also directed her ‘XS’ and ‘STFU!’ videos, wanted to add an element of ‘Fight Club’.

“I love it, because you don’t see videos like that… I want to make something that lasts.”

Sawayama also gave an update on live performances to accompany the album’s release, following the temporary halt of the live music industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had so much planned for it. We’ve moved it to September, but I don’t know where the world is going to be in September.”

“I love theatre,” she continued, “I love the theatrics of it…I want to bring that for my fans, I want the costume changes.”

NME gave ‘SAWAYAMA’ five stars, saying, “Drawing on every aspect of her identity, Sawayama creates an expansive musical account of her personal history, all bolstered by her impressive experimental song-writing techniques.

“And on top of that, she’s somehow managed to make nu-metal sound effortlessly cool.”

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