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Tinashe - Joyride (Album Review)

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 Written by Milly McMahon

Photo: Dennis Leupold

The word has been out for a while that Tinashe is a profoundly talented dancer, singer, songwriter and producer, but she comes of age - for better and worse - on her new album, ‘Joyride’. Across 13 tracks, and alongside features from Little Dragon, Ty Dollar $ign, Future and French Montana, she retells tales of her lustful life and loves.

Tinashe is an evocative artist; a distinctive, mysteriously sexy and cool woman. Recent videos for No Drama and Faded Love serve to complement this record, painting her as a top-tier performer. Her body moves with mesmeric finesse and she holds the camera’s gaze with compelling, hypnotic power. But only some of that energy is transferred across to ‘Joyride’.

Tinashe’s debut, ‘Aquarius’, is viewed with cult status and the pressure to create a body of work that would supersede it continually stalled the release of ‘Joyride’.

It even resulted in the release of ‘Nightride’, a well-regarded stopgap mixtape, but the suspense kept fans in the grip of tentative anticipation: what would follow?

The answer is a hugely varied compendium of hip-hop and acoustic arrangements. ‘Joyride’ is a disjointed array of Tinashe’s accomplished writing abilities and attitude-heavy vocal delivery, interspersed randomly and sometimes feeling somewhat rushed. This is an album of two halves, representing Tinashe in two very different lights. It could almost have been divided into separate EPs.

Continually compared to Rihanna, who came close to poaching the title track for her album ‘Anti’, Tinashe actually aspires to fly closer to Aaliyah's vibe here. Her relaxed attitude to pushing a sense of self and projecting her vision through hands-on production of the music and visuals feels understated; reflective of a cool, composed disposition.

By way of comparison, Tinashe’s soulful and sassy side feels somewhat incongruous. The closing ballad, Fires and Flames, is a standout vocal moment but ultimately falls flat alongside ambient R&B joints Faded Love and He So Bad. These lulls leave the records feeling like a preview of what’s to come, rather than a destination in itself. Perhaps Tinashe’s third album will righteously showcase her talents with bulletproof impact. However, ‘Joyride’ is weakened by occasional convoluted moments. Watch this space.

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