Tinashe’s sophmore album ‘Joyride’ has been out for two days now- released on the unluckiest day Friday the 13th and amidst the slowly looming curse of the one-hit wonder. In the age of ‘churnalism’ where it is all about who wrote it first, ‘Joyride’ has been quickly digested, chewed and spit out into a mixed bag of timely reviews, pre-ambled by the long journey it has taken for the project to come out and the drama surrounding it. Such as the title track ‘Joyride’ being purchased by Rihanna after rapper and friend Travis Scott , who featured on the track, was shopping it around without Tinashe’s permission.
Having been a fan of Tinashe for a number of years, just before she was signed to her current record label RCA I wanted to take a while to let the songs sink in. Particularly as a lot of my favourite records from the artist have been slow burners. This includes the title track ‘Joyride’ which was leaked a while ago and is a sonic jungle of heavy base and drums accompanied by a war cry of ‘living life.’ In true Tinashe fashion the production and song itself is unique, unlike any songs currently out there and hard to classify into one specific genre.
The track itself is also very cinematic which is intensified when set against the cover art of the singers silhouette in futuristic attire. Joyride almost paints the scene of a post apocolyptic world leaving the listeners ready to be taken on the journey alongside the singer. Admittedly preferring the original version featuring Travis Scott – who has now been taken off, for casual listeners of Tinashe this song may be a grower. However once realised, the track is ingenious as the listener truly experiences the multiple layers of vocals, base and instruments which leaves a soul-stirring impression.
Unfortunately this impression is in danger of fizzling out as the project progresses and I was left wanting more from the album in general, hoping like the title track, that it takes a while to warm up to.
Knowing that the singer had recorded an impressive 200 songs for the project. I would have been quite happy with 16 tracks rather than the 13 (which included 2 interludes), to flesh out the musical journey the album was set to take the listeners on. As a fan I was particularly left frustrated with one of my favourite records ‘No Contest’ a song that the singer previewed on her Joyride Tour which is a cool, ethereal tinged RnB song that quickly switches up to an instrumental reminiscent of nineties single ‘Shawty Swing My Way’ by KP and Envyi. I was disappointed to see that the big production instrumentals were left off of the track and the song only switched up at the end, losing the kick it brought to the live shows.
The project also includes quite a few radio friendly tracks which perhaps would have made for better promo singles for the album. One of the them being the surprising collaboration with Little Dragon, ‘Stuck with Me’ – a fresh, electronic, pop, bop that you can groove too. And ‘ooh la la la’ a meadowy, summer track sampling Nelly & Kelly Song ‘Dilemma’ and kinky, squeaky bed mattresses.
Overall I found the album worked best listening to it as a whole body of work, rather than isolated songs and there is no doubt that the singer will be able to take it to another level through her stellar live performances. The album also shows the diversity of Tinashe, whether it be singing in her high register with the song ‘He Don’t Want It’, reminisent of her vocals in ‘Who Am I working For’ , to showing her ability to belt out those notes in ballads such as ‘Fire & Flames’.
Although left slightly underwhelmed by the album. What has been evident, is the singer has worked very hard on the project, on top of the insurmountable pressure that this album will be the life or death of her career and it is a solid body of work. In an industry were success has been confined to a small number of individuals, Tinashe can confidently continue to be the voice that pushes the boundaries whilst moulding and shaping her own path to success.
You can buy the album Joyride here.
Here are some songs Tinashe recorded during the making of Joyride that we wish would have made the album.
5 AM feat Calvin Harris
On A Wave feat Drake