While fans impatiently await the release of Tinashe’s sophomore album, Joyride, the singer surprise released a companion piece instead. Nightride sits somewhere between mixtape and album, 52 minutes of alt-r&b songs melting into the next, chopped, screwed and intercut with experimental sound recordings and skits.
Most may know Tinashe as a pop princess from her club anthem “2 On”, and her sugar sweet collaborations with Chris Brown or Chance the Rapper, but she is also a budding female producer with a stubborn weird streak.
Built on demos recorded in her bedroom studio, Nightride sounds appropriately moody and intimate. Tinashe shares this sound with artists like Jhene Aiko, fka Twigs and Kelela, but unfortunately pales in comparison. Nightride lacks a commanding presence or the cutting-edge production of its contemporaries.
Tinashe’s breathy vocals often fade into the hazy production. Four-minute songs feel sleepy and bloated. Tinashe instead excels when there’s an uptempo beat. “Sacrifices” is pulsing and brooding, and her delivery emulates Rihanna’s “Needed Me”. On “Ride of Your Life”
Tinashe coolly brags over an icy Metro Boomin’ beat. Past collaborator Dev Hynes returns for the glittering piano ballad “Ghetto Boy”.
There are beautiful and exciting moments throughout, but a lot of the album fades away like a dream. Nightride isn’t exceptional on its own, but is a good teaser for the upcoming 2017 debut of Joyride. Like Frank Ocean’s dual release of the amorphous “Endless” and the carefully composed “Blonde”, Tinashe is sharing her process and experiments through this album.
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