We expected a chart hit album, we got a creative mixtape. After releasing a preview for her upcoming album, Joyride, over a year ago, Tinashe fans were excited at hints on Instagram that suggested it was close to being finished.
Instead, Tinashe dropped Nightride, a surprise ‘visual’ mixtape with 15 tracks and an artistic video. With no features and no gimmicks, the mixtape is quietly powerful – the smooth R&B tones of her voice set against the often dark and sultry lyrics.
At a time when meaningless R&B is dominating the charts, it’s refreshing to hear such an honest project. There’s a resounding confidence in Tinashe’s sound and lyrics, in C’est La Vie she sings “I’m finally feeling free for the night, I got no worries/Finally got a claim on my life, baby, c’est la vie.”
Aside from the mixtape’s lead single, Company, all the tracks are self-written. Nightride gives us a glimpse of Tinashe’s own personal story, built upon by the quirky portraits and childhood videos that make up the 6-minute accompanying video.
This isn’t a project built for chart success.
“Being human is about embracing the many different sides of you rather than trying to limit, label, or box yourself in” she wrote on her Instagram. While the singles from the upcoming album, Player, and Superlove, may lean towards the upbeat, pop-y sound of her previous hit 2 On, this mixtape feels like a full expression of Tinashe’s creativity.
While the project takes us on a journey through the lyrics, from the assertion of independence in Lucid Dreaming to the sweet promise of protection in Ghetto Boy, there is a sense of something lacking in the sound. It’s hard to pull one song from another, and with no stand-out track, the mixtape doesn’t quite reach the heights that it could.
If this is a clever ploy from Tinashe to tease us with this project, leaving us waiting for Joyride’s release, then she’s certainly succeeded. We’re left more eager for the album to drop, wondering which side of the singer will be revealed next.
Check out Nightride on our SpiceUK Spotify playlist