#63 Rina Sawayama: Hold the Girl

Get in line, pass the wine, bitch, we’re going straight to Hell

This Hell

There are few things as indicative of a grossly rotten capitalist system as Elon Musk. If this was a world that worked in the slightest way, if it was properly focused on providing correctly for all human life, or even if it were really the meritocracy that many on the right and the centre claim it to be, then people like Elon would not exist.

Elon Musk has, according to Forbes, eight two sillywillion-scumskillion-foreskillion-skatupllion dollars. Remember how arsey I got about Beyoncé? Well, Elon Musk spends ‘a Beyoncé’ every day on one of his special artisanal morning coffees (he makes it out of unicorn anuses and the condensed tears of one hundred an fifty million starving children, which needs to be collected en masse overnight. Tastes quite nutty. Because Elon nuts in it. Because the idea turns him on so much). If Elon earned this money by being especially good at something like playing billiards – even if he were the best billiard player in the God damn world – then being allowed to greedily accumulate that much wealth would still mean the system is broken. But Elon isn’t especially good at anything. It’s just the whole depressing and boring vulture capitalist, venture buyouts, stock market nonsense that all rich people do.

An extra layer of grossness and ethical fucking dishonour dubiousness is Tesla dealing regulatory credits like they were edibles for boring rich people. In a classically useless and pathetic liberal attempt to reduce carbon emissions and pretend that they give a shit about combating climate change, governments in the USA, the EU, China and all around the world have introduced incentives for automakers to develop electric vehicles rather than gas ones (a move that’s more about saving the car industry than saving the planet, don’t forget) in return for credits. Each carmaker is required to have a certain amount of credits each year or, I dunno, they get a stern telling off or some shit. However – in an absolutely fucking bonkers loophole – rather than actually earning the credits themselves by cutting down their production of gas vehicles, car companies can just buy the credits from other companies that actually meet the regulations! Tesla – a 100% electric car company which Musk will claim he invented but he actually just brought out, because his only talent has only ever been ‘Being Rich’ – has loads of these credits, so just makes bank by dealing them out to other multinational companies to save them the ballache of actual real change. Stellantis, for example, a merger between Fiat and PSA group (my God big business is so fucking boooooooring!!), purchased €2 billion of green credits for the USA and EU between 2019 and 2021. Tesla and Elon pocket the cash, Tesla’s stock valuation skyrockets, Tesla and Elon pocket that cash as well. This is fine.

Sure, Elon’s general boneheadedness has been revealed more widely after his ridiculous forty four flipping billion dollar purchase and subsequent botched managing of Twitter. But while that is laughably overpriced to an insane degree for a company that has only ever been profitable for a total of two years in its entire history (2018 and 2019, fact fans, also coinciding with the entire TV run of poorly received Damon Wayans Jr vehicle ‘Happy Together‘. Coincidence??? Yes), but this is Elon Musk we’re talking about. Comparatively, it’s like that time when I spent £10 on that shitty Ghostbusters video game and quickly realised that I couldn’t work it out and hated it. He has so much money that it’s actually disgusting. He once snarkily challenged people to explain how 2% of his fortune ($6 billion) could solve world hunger, saying that if they showed him he would donate it. They showed him. He still didn’t donate it. Because that’s his money. And he has pretty much all of it that’s available.

And yet, Elon would give it all up just to be funny.

Thanks to @AlanRMacLeod for this perfect chart

Elon is really, really not funny. Which isn’t a crime. Doctor Martin Luther King jr., for example, had absolutely no patter. Dry as a bone, that guy, dry as a bone. But history is nonetheless going to look kindly on him, and his lack of humour wasn’t the reason the CIA had him assassinated. But Elon wants to be funny. He wants to be funny more than he wants his billions of dollars. And, considering the amount of worker abuse he’ll conduct in order to shave pennies off to supplement his billions, that means he wants to be funny a whole damn lot. He wants to be a funny memelord so much that he actually overpaid for Twitter, declared that ‘comedy was legal’, and then possibly oversaw its complete demise. That’s actually quite beautiful. And, ironically enough, fucking hilarious.

Rina Sawayama? Doesn’t she strike you as someone who’s really funny though? Like, you can just tell that she has a great comedic energy to her, and that she’s an absolute blast to be around. No, that’s not the tenuous link that I’m making here. Rather, I’m going to segue into my strongly held belief that Rina would trade in everything she has ever achieved – all the multimillions of song plays, all the money she’s been paid, all those duets with Elton John – if only she could be considered a ‘gay icon’.

It can’t just be me, right?? Doesn’t it seem like ‘gay icon’ status has been Rina’s ultimate goal now for a long time, to the frequent hindrance to her musical talents? It’s not just me! Shut up!

She’s an astonishingly talented artist, but it seems that the thing she values more than anything else is creating that all time gay (and G*A*Y) anthem to propel her to LGBTQ icon in the popular consciousness. She’s always been an astonishingly photogenic artist, with an amazing eye for fashion, and it seems that at one point along the road she got the idea in her head that this should automatically lead to Kylie/Madonna/Mariah/even Charli XCX style eternal queer adoration. Being a gay icon does not necessarily equate to your own sexuality (as a woman, anyway, I struggle to think of any heterosexual male celebrities who are deemed gay icons. I’ll happily put my name forward) – I’m not even sure how Rina classifies her sexuality and I’m not going to check – it’s a difficult to define mix of individualistic style, slightly chaotic backstory and perhaps past tragedy. Whatever it is, Rina’s struggles definitely show how difficult it is to gain and how impossible it is to grasp intentionally. Rina should be focusing on Lady Gaga’s artistic statements and musical advancement, rather than spending so much energy trying to write her own Born This Way. Jesus, dude, you sang Chosen Family with Elton fucking John and it still sounded like the straightest dross I’ve ever heard.

‘Hold the Girl’ isn’t quite as frequently sidelined by this obsession as Sawayama’s debut album – and its a far stronger and more focused set of songs that actually bear some musical and thematic relation to each other – but there are still blatant musical rips of Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. I’m still waiting for the mindblowing deconstruction of pop music that her debut EP promised and her talent absolutely merits. It may be a confidence issue, with Rina slowly learning that people might actually be interested in listening to her rather than a tryhard attempted iconoclast. Basically, Rina, you’re here, you’re not queer, get over it.


2020 #79

2018 (No.15)

Metacritic: 84


2 thoughts on “#63 Rina Sawayama: Hold the Girl

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