Rina Sawayama’s Single Is Your Cuffing Season Anthem

Time to find that person you’ll be cuddling with all winter long.

Rina Sawayama/Twitter

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Another week in the long haul of 2018 is over. While you clean, or lie in bed thinking about how nice it’d be if all those chores were already done, we got a nice little upbeat pick for you for this week’s Friday Find.

This week: “Cherry” by Rina Sawayama (Different Recordings, 2018)

Why we’re into it: As the days get darker and the weather gets colder—at least for those of us who live where seasons exist—it’s especially nice to defy it all and indulge in a summery, romantic sound. After all, it’s cuffing season, and we all need a good tune to be the soundtrack for the whole process of coupling up. And what could possibly be better than an early ‘aughts inspired, queer, pop ode to love?

As if pulled straight from 2003’s Top 40, Rina Sawayama’s newest single, “Cherry” is the perfect one for this fall weekend. Inspired by a glance, this track captures that indelible moment of making significant (emphasis on significant) eye contact with someone in public. Not just a quick exchange, mind you, I’m talking about that glanceThe one where suddenly fantasies overwhelm you about falling in love, the dog you’ll adopt together, and the home you’ll eventually buy, (or maybe that’s just me).

Yet Sawayama’s strength here is not how she captures that fleeting moment and builds it into a three-minute story—although that’s insanely impressive and another reason for this week’s pick—it’s the way she repeatedly builds up an intensity, only to just let it go with the same ease of early Britney and Mariah. 

Not only is the sound reminiscent of the early pop icons, the feeling it evokes is also what the early ‘aughts’s best music inspired: you wanted to dance around the room, best friend on the phone, making plans, and talking all about your crush. “Down the subway/you looked my way,” she muses, “With your girl gaze/with your girl gaze.”

This isn’t just a great pop song, it’s a great gay pop song. With a video to match, Sawayama’s sound is unique in the pop of today. Falling in line with the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Marina and the Diamonds, and Sky Ferreira, Sawayama crafts a mature and multi-dimensional love story, but attacks it with the childish infatuation that makes crushes so fascinating, consuming, and, alas, ephemeral.

Indulge in a little fantasy this weekend, maybe ask that crush what they’re up to, and see if you too, will be cuffin’ up this winter.

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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