Published Apr 11, 2018Urgency fuels the long-awaited full-length album, Joyride, by Tinashe. To say that this has been long gestating would be putting it mildly; after dropping the summer hit "2 On" and a strong debut album in 2014, Aquarius, the buzz from Tinashe meant that Joyride was due for a rollout back in 2015, but despite a single or two, it looked like it wouldn't see the light of day. A second effort, 2016's Nightshade, was a mixtape meant to tide us over, but by then we were too primed for the much-promised release.
Joyride is finally here and it highlights the artist's promise and potential, while, at the same time, leaving us wondering what the wait was about. Title track "Joyride" is a foreboding number, despite its hard-driving promise of "living life," with ominous percussion giving way to a surprising string-oriented groove at its climax. That's the overall feel of Tinashe the performer and vocalist, a mix of innocence, ambition and sensuality. "He Don't Want It" is a sleepy, enticing bedroom jam; "Ooh La La" is a breeze midtempo about unrequited love; and "Stuck With Me" is a fun, stripped-down danceable distraction à la Janet Jackson, but then comes along a track like "No Contest" that feels like a number Ciara might have passed on in 2012. But things pick up with "Salt," a sensual slowed-down guitar-driven effort, showcasing Tinashe's maturing vocals, while the poppy, straightforward "Faded Love" is destined to be a hit, as is the chill groove that is "No Contest."
Indeed, whether by perception or reality, the vibe can't help but feel a bit dated through Joyride, with grooves and chords feeling a bit "early to mid-decade" instead of 2018. Tinashe's Joyride is a stop-start journey that doesn't quite stall out, but does feel like some ground has been lost. It does move, however, and it will be interesting to see where things go from here. (RCA)