Joyride is Tinashe’s second album, the sophomore project following her 2014 album, Aquamarine. Tinashe, in the past, has been compared to the likes of The Weeknd and Janet Jackson, though closer to The Weeknd. Both comparisons are very complimentary, but they are a step above where Tinashe falls on the release of this album. Tinashe works with a couple big names on this album, setting her up for this album to possibly sky-rocket her to more mainstream fame, and while there is still potentially seen in this album, this was not her golden ticket.
Joyride is filled with forgetful tracks such as “Ooh La La,” “Faded Love,” and “No Contest.” The beats and backings are clichéd trap sounds that we have been hearing on the radio for the past two years. Her vocals on these tracks are monotone and have little emotion. Mixed with stale lyrics that offer very little substance, these tracks are downright horrible. Even Future’s feature on “Faded Love” was awkward: an almost talky feel clashes heavily with the song’s flow. The titular track of this album was the biggest disappointment of them all with messy, clunky backgrounds and the least impressive lyrics on the entire album.
There are a few songs on this album that may arrive to some radio play due to their safe, upbeat nature. Tracks like “He Don’t Want It” and “Me So Bad” have glittery, spacey atmospheres mixed with glossy vocals and follow very basic trends with plucky, homemade beat. The French Montana feature in this track is very forgettable, but the Ty Dolla $ign feature stood out with nice vocal runs and breathy vocals.
There were a few highs on this album with tracks like “Salt” having an almost noir feel where Tinashe displays some deep, sexy vocals on top of weaving icy guitar riffs. “Fires and Flames” was definitely the shining track in a sea of duds, for it is a twinkling piano ballad where Tinashe truly shows off her soulful vocal abilities that were hinted at near the end of “Salt.”
Overall, Joyride is an album with themes of an on and off relationship where the other person in the relationship seems to be getting farther and farther away while Tinashe longs for their love. Near the end of this album, these feelings are annoying and desperate by emotionally falling flat, but they are almost saved by the soulful ending track. Tinashe has a few sparks that I hope she explores in future endeavors, but sadly, in Joyride, she seems to be falling into cliché tropes and forgetful, lackluster tracks for the sake of safety and radio play.