Oh, Tinashe. Poor Tinashe. Joyride seemed set to be that album that would never see the light of day, so long and arduous appeared its production process.
And thank fuck (for Tinashe, her label, and her career) that Joyride doesn’t end up being the car crash everyone expected. Opening with a little intro and the title track – very much in the vein of ‘establish a theme, then forget about it’ – it’s a solid exercise in personality-driven R&B that elevates itself way higher than the singles it’s been lumbered with.
Take He Don’t Want It for example. It’s a perfect example of why the Tinashe quandary has been such a bitch, in that the only other person you can imagine pulling this sort of fluttering high-range sound is the recently-emerged Camila Cabello. But Tinashe has a confidence beyond her peers, delivering sultry moments of come-hither genre-blending even when she’s surrounded by the trap beats we hate so much.
Which makes the single choices even more frustrating. No Drama and Me So Bad are a fraction of what songs like Stuck With Me (featuring Little Dragon) or the surprisingly tender (if painfully mainstream) balladry of closer Fires and Flames. There are plenty of examples here that remind us that Tinashe is a talent well worthy of continued investment; all she needs to do is break free of major label shackles, release a lot more a lot quicker, and watch as the competition falls before her.