The female equivalent to Jeremih has finally dropped her long-awaited and anticipated third studio album, Joyride. While Tinashe has had hits such as Company and 2 On to help her popularity on the radios, her career is at a make-or-break point, coming off of multiple commercial flops, Tinashe has continuously promised that Joyride will be the album that fans have been waiting for.
So, in typical one listen fashion, no fast-forwarding, reversing, or pausing, here’s a breakdown and review of every track on Joyride.
Track 1 – Keep Your Eyes On The Road
Life lessons can come in a multitude of ways, love the title. I wonder if she has some kind of sponsorship with D.O.T. for this album. There’s no turning back now, a voice says as a car circles around my headphones, I feel more scared than immersed at this point. The new trend for artists is to make the intro into a one minute interlude into the first real track. This does its job fine and sets the tone for a joyride. Next.
Track 2 – Joyride
This is the true intro, a long, ‘oooohhhhh,’ and heavily distorted African style drums. I like the matrix/Tokyo drift feel of this track, just waiting for the beat to drop. The build-up finally pays off, and vocally she’s performing very well so far. At first, the beat clashed with her vocals, but as it gets more ambient and Tinashe settles in, this becomes an experience. This album is definitely meant to play when it’s dark out. Production fade out with the violin is heavenly, thank you Travis Scott and Hit-Boy.
Track 3 – No Drama (feat. Offset)
This is Tinashe at her best. A simple beat in the background that provides enough flavor, but still lets her vocals do the heavy workload for the chorus. Offset adds quite a bit on the ad-libs and gives a passable verse. He set the bar too high for his features with Met Gala, the song was a gift and a curse for him. For a lead single, I like it. Tinashe gets to showcase her voice perfectly and delivers on the chorus. Two for two.
Track 4 – He Don’t Want It
What is this? She really loves the distortion effects. Oh, wow her voice is high. Scarily high, like it’s about to break. This album is not short on effects, Tinashe is harmonizing and layering in extra vocals every chance she gets, and constantly switching the flow of the song. This feels more like an interlude and mood shift compared to the up-tempo openers, but it’s fresh throughout the whole song.
Track 5 – Ooh La La
Holy mid-2000’s R&B!!! This song is trying to be something she doesn’t fit over. Vocally, I can’t knock anything about it, but the production is just plain awful. The creaking of granny’s rocking chair, mixed with a guitar and heavy drums and the Metro Boomin *auowe* just doesn’t work.
Track 6 – Me So Bad (feat. French Montana & Ty Dolla $ign)
A-ha, the pop section of the album has begun. It’s cool, not much more for Tinashe’s verse, the hook is definitely going to be one heard all summer. Ty Dolla $ign is the man. I can’t remember him ever giving a bad feature verse to anyone, the guy just does his job. French Montana is just being himself right now, and for this song, that’s not a good thing. This song isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it just isn’t good either.
Track 7 – Ain’t Good For Ya (Interlude)
Where are the Migos? They belong on this beat. This could be stretched out into a whole track if she really wanted it to be. This felt more like a quick detour from the joyride rather than a moving forward interlude.
Track 8 – Stuck With Me (feat. Little Dragon)
This is good. I figure Little Dragon is doing the production? Sounds like something Little Dragon would make even though I’ve never heard of them. I absolutely love the hook Tinashe is giving. Nevermind that Little Dragon comment, female/male, whatever, this person is now singing and it’s going to ruin the track. Sounds like a very discount version of The Weeknd’s whiny voice. Despite the low of Little Dragon, Stuck With Me rounds out pretty nicely with another hook and good instrumental.
Track 9 – Go Easy On Me (Interlude)
What’s up with all the interludes? She’s teaching lessons throughout this album, but it jumped from ‘wear your seatbelt’ to ‘this world is sick.’ Interesting. Next.
Track 10 – Salt
This is a new voice and a completely new feel. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Actually, this is great, what I’d assume is the chorus just came in, and it’s crashing like waves against a beach shore, in a good way. There’s no other way to explain this track except that it’s just smooth. The production is very sexy, combined with Tinashe’s voice being the eighth world wonder, Salt works perfectly.
Track 11 – Faded Love (feat. Future)
The song starts immediately and this is the Tinashe that works best, the one that needs to show up more. Bouncy, synth-heavy beat, self-harmonizing, and simple, in-the-moment lyrics. Again with the skip vocal effects, they work to perfection this time. Uh oh, I hear Future wailing. I remember when I used to get excited for him; the downfall has been quick and incredible. I think I speak for anyone when I say we wanted another Tinashe verse, or just not a Future verse. Tinashe closes out with a hook to remind me that the song is good.
Track 12 – No Contest
Ever since that corny interlude, she’s been in her zone, like the switch finally flipped on and she realized what works best. This is a classic 2000’s R&B track, something I could picture Cassie on. Tinashe is finally realizing the potential of her vocals without over-singing anything; keeping it really simple while also being able to show some range. Three for three since life lesson number two.
Track 13 – Fires and Flames
Basically the same thing but she already had a track named Flame so I guess she had to act originally with the title. Piano comes in right out of the gate and I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna like this track, Tinashe has never struck me as a love ballad kind of singer. While I’m rambling about how I don’t see this working, she’s quickly proving me wrong and making this into a good outro. I hoped for a beat switch when I saw this was four minutes, but it seems like she’s just gonna ride the beat out. This is alright, nothing special, but a passable closing to a passable album.
There isn’t much to say about Joyride, it’s an album that will just be there for the year, nothing more, nothing less. Songs such as Joyride, No Drama, Salt, and Faded Love really show what she is capable of at her best, but then, there’s the rest of the album; which ranges between fine and awful. The more artistic Tinashe gets, the more interest I lose. I don’t think anyone came into this project expecting an experience, or something that leaves you with something to think about after. The most important part of making music is knowing your audience, clearly, the potential of this album wasn’t realized, and something that could’ve been really good turned into something that is just… fine.