Last week, millions of women across America (and the world) were shocked, furious, and terrified by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 50 year landmark case of Roe v. Wade. Eliminating federal protection of abortion rights will have devastating impacts on women’s rights, child poverty, and overall family welfare.
This financial and emotional burden brought on by these abortion bans will be far more extreme for single mothers, as the rates of single motherhood are expected to sharply increase across states with an abortion ban. Against the backdrop of a nation’s disregard for women and mother’s alike, Rina Sawayama’s newest song “Catch Me in the Air” is a beautiful ballad of admiration to her own single mother and a reminder of hope.
IMAGE CREDIT: THURSTAN REDDING
Japanese-born British singer-songwriter, Rina Sawayama captured public attention in 2020 with her debut LP SAWAYAMA. SAWAYAMA blended hyper-pop with a fresh take on electronic and metal. Recently, she announced her sophomore album Hold This Girl would be coming this Fall.
The first single off Hold This Girl, “This Hell” was a female-empowerment track that celebrated friendship and resilience in the face of misogyny. The song featured many references to female icons of the early 2000s from Shania Twain to Paris Hilton to Britney Spears. Rina’s music masterfully blends important messages with fun, creative melodies. Her breakout hit “STFU!” expressed her burning frustration at being fetishized for her race. However, on “Catch Me in the Air” she deviates from her usual ironic poptimism to deliver a heartfelt and sincere anthem about love and parenthood.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Sawayama said, “The first verse of ‘Catch Me in the Air’ is from the parent’s perspective, and the second is from the child’s perspective.” Sawayama who grew up with her Japanese mother in London, expresses regret at not realizing the sacrifices her mom made raising her, and has developed a deeper sense of appreciation for all her mother’s hard work. She continues, “I can’t imagine having to raise a child by yourself in a country where you don’t speak the language, to make a living and to try to give the best for your child.”
The lyrics of “Catch Me in the Air” celebrate a parent’s pride as they watch their child grow up and take on the world. As the song builds, the child grows into a woman who reflects back on the power of the mother/daughter bond. For both parent and child that other person is everything, and they know they’ll always be there to “catch them in the air.”
Unlike many of Sawayama’s other songs, the production is less modern and electric and more in line with the power ballads of the 1970s and 1980s. Perhaps this was to pay homage to the music that would’ve been popular when Rina’s mother was growing up and discovering herself.
The key change at the transition from the pre-chorus to the chorus swells to a moment of triumph, as Sawyama’s high-pitched vocals transport listeners “high above the clouds.” In an atmosphere of so much fear and uncertainty, it’s a beautiful escape and a breath of fresh air.
Sawayama’s second album, Hold This Girl, drops September 2nd.
FEATURED IMAGE: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella