Sexy, cool, and thick are easily accessible words that one might use to describe Tinashe’s new album Joyride. The album itself is filled to the brim with Tinashe’s signature “let’s make a baby”-type crooning. And while sex is certainly a centerpiece to Joyride’s vibe, there are tracks that dig a little bit deeper and cut a little bit harder. Honesty seems to be difficult to tap into for Tinashe, but when she hits, it hits right. When diving deeper into this 13 track series, there are obvious ambitions to create a cohesive, thought-provoking story, though this effort can fall flat due to overproduction and overthinking. If nothing else, Joyride is just a joyride: fast and fun, but ultimately lacking roots.
Joyride is a quick hitter, less than 40 minutes total, where 3 of the 13 songs included are an intro and two interludes. For how long this album has been in production, it’s disappointing that there isn’t too much in the way of storytelling. Each track is a snippet, a piece to a puzzle that can’t be formed and not really strung together with any kind of narrative. But perhaps that’s understandable for an artist just getting her foot in the dirt. What could be seen as misguided can actually turn out to be part of Tinashe’s allure. Furthermore, there are a selection of tracks that really knock it out of the park.
Take, for example, “Ooh La La”, sampled from Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s smash hit “Dilemma”. The squeaking of bed springs wash over the track in what could be contrived as corny, but instead puts us right in the mood to get it on. “Stuck with Me” is lyrically wonderful and catchy; ominous yet playful. In a more serious light comes “Salt”, a sexed up ballad about a breakup that functions more like a “fuck you” than a “poor me” track. Sold separately, these songs could set the mood for their own type of themed album.
The downfall of Joyride is the anticipation of what Tinashe could be compared to where this album lies. Tinashe’s untapped potential should be considered a crime to her clear talent. Instead of oversaturated tricks of the trade, it would be far more interesting to see her abilities stripped down. Joyride just isn’t enough, and though it seems to be pointed in the right direction, it’s too easy to allow this album to fade into the background.