Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
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  1. Sep 16, 2022
    It’s imbued with a spirit and attitude that only the very best pop records have. Much like Dua Lipa’s incendiary second album Future Nostalgia it’s the sound of not just a step up but a whole leap to a new exalted level of pop excellence.
  2. 100
    Genres may come and go, but Sawayama’s second album is defined by her ability to fashion each of these sounds into big, brilliant pop songs. The best British pop album of the year.
  3. Sep 14, 2022
    It’s an honest and visceral look into more painful moments that come with processing past pain.
  4. Sep 14, 2022
    What Sawayama has successfully captured with Hold the Girl is the healing power of pop music, and the catharsis that can come just as easily with an arena-ready banger as it can with a feral scream.
  5. Sep 15, 2022
    Besting the already star-making Sawayama, the triumphant Hold The Girl is the sound of an artist taking their rightful place on the pop throne. Sawayama was born for this.
  6. Sep 13, 2022
    This sophomore LP does a bit of everything, but this time around feels more refined, consistent and polished: exactly what a follow up should be. And on a label roster saturated with enormous amounts of talent, Rina Sawayama is making a pretty good claim to being the ruler.
  7. Sep 19, 2022
    This is a record about coming home to yourself, about feeling truly alive, one with the added benefit of being stuffed with bangers and not overburdened by corny shredding.
  8. Sep 16, 2022
    The more conventional songs radiate power too, from straightforward pop-rock anthem Hurricanes to the electronic thud of Holy — her It’s A Sin moment. The album’s final three tracks feel superfluous, but Sawayama ultimately succeeds where Dr Frankenstein failed: her creation greater than the sum of its parts.
  9. 80
    Hold the Girl is eclectic and searching, a little glossier than Sawayama’s debut, perhaps, but also much more introspective.
  10. 80
    This album makes use of every single second of its runtime, jam-packed with choruses so huge and emotional, no one can quite replicate her unique sound and vision.
  11. Sep 13, 2022
    The album loses some of its momentum through the last few songs, foregoing the weighty power of Minor Feelings for something more airy and nebulous. In many ways, this album feels like a love letter to Sawayama's younger self. It feels like a promise that joy is coming.
  12. Sep 13, 2022
    It seems the isolation of lockdown made her bolder about looking inside herself. The most exciting thing about Hold the Girl is that you can’t even guess where Sawayama might go next.
  13. Sep 29, 2022
    With bops and tearjerkers aplenty, Rina’s sincerity in how she confronts her past demons cannot help but warm even the iciest heart.
  14. Sep 14, 2022
    Her robust voice keeps these tracks on the right side of the cheesy/affecting divide, exemplifying Hold the Girl’s niftiest trick. Often, when Sawayama looks back on her past to inform her present, she leans into her new collaborators’ radio-pop bona fides and sings her way into earnestness.
  15. Sep 20, 2022
    It’s a respectable record with easily enough depth and conviction to hint at something thoroughly vital, but it folds so much of itself along lines too deeply creased into forms too clean-edged to bear the kind of authorial stamp its many raw qualities beg for.
  16. Sep 20, 2022
    Her experiments aren’t as bold or memorable as those of her debut, and the hooks throughout Hold the Girl aren’t as immediately catchy. Nonetheless, Sawayama’s undeniably fierce willingness to gaze further inward and confront thornier topics makes the album compelling in its own right.
  17. Sep 15, 2022
    “Hold the Girl” continues to mine deep material — “Imagining” addresses a mental health crisis; the opener, “Minor Feelings,” takes its title from a Cathy Park Hong essay collection — but the protruding eccentricities that once made Sawayama’s music so distinct often sound sanded down. ... There is, however, a bold and satisfyingly angry stretch across the middle of the album with some of its strongest material.
  18. Sep 13, 2022
    Despite some bumps, Hold the Girl is full of passion and reflection, uninterested in holding back and unafraid to revel in the power of vulnerability and self-love.
  19. Sep 16, 2022
    What’s left is an album with an excess of initiative but not enough follow-through, a record that takes on so much it risks burning out. In the end, the little girl at the center of the album gets swallowed by her own vision.
  20. Sep 16, 2022
    Sawayama’s vocal performances are mechanically flawless, a testament to her talent, though they fail to evoke the sublime responses that Sawayama can evoke. Overall, the sequence suffers from a lack of risk and is self-consciously conservative in terms of its execution—a bewildering anticlimax.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 229 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 229
  1. Sep 16, 2022
    Best pop release of 2022 so far. Incredible melodies, vocals and production. Stunning body of work.
  2. Sep 16, 2022
    Just hold the **** girl. That’s all!
  3. Sep 16, 2022
    Rina Sawayama is the pop star 2022 needs, but one must wonder whether we deserve her. As so many have already noted, Rina is quite possiblyRina Sawayama is the pop star 2022 needs, but one must wonder whether we deserve her. As so many have already noted, Rina is quite possibly the only artist to debut in the last decade with the charisma, show(wo)manship, and unrelenting dedication to her art to justify comparisons to Lady Gaga. Where her debut, Sawayama, was experimental and wrought with fiery angst, her sophomore release, Hold the Girl, presents a new Rina - introspective, fragile, yet endlessly headstrong about who she was, is, and plans to be. Each track is meticulously crafted for maximum emotional impact - ranging from the subtle nuance of “Minor Feelings” to the fractured electronica of “Frankenstein.” Prepare for a journey through the psyche of pop’s rightful next megastar. Full Review »