In her latest effort, Nightride, Tinashe explores her usual topics: sex, being unable to trust, and feeling like a bitch while trying to prove she has depth. However, Nightride doesn’t actually explore any of them in depth, failing to bring new insight to who she wants to be to attain her goals. Tinashe might want to appeal to the masses and crack the top 40, but this release falls flat as detached and bored.
In theory Tinashe could be the perfect artist; no one can accuse her of being inauthentic or a boardroom creation. But on opening track, “Lucid Dreaming,” she displays all her shortcomings. Beginning with her inability or unwillingness to share why she doesn’t change her M.O. and play the fame game right (“I still care about being loyal/and I always paid a price/I won’t let ‘em take advantage”). Even as a longtime listener, it’s hard to be sure if she is stating that the inner workings of the industry are a knife in the back, or that she has other external pressures swaying her. It doesn’t help that the track’s production highlights her vocal range’s inability to be full, instead coming off as hollow and weak where the beats peak.
The album’s disorganization continues as there is no thematic transition to the seductive banger that follows the first three introspective, dreamy tracks. Tinashe bounces from wondering if she is happy with her partner to realizing that the sacrifices she makes are worthwhile (“The lines are blurry now, this isn’t lust”). The discussion on feeling that her lover is worthy recurs. In “Touch Pass,” Tinashe lets her partner know (“You’ve got a touch pass come through/you know my heart I trust you”).
When Tinashe does dig deep you get winners like “High Speed Chase” and “You Don’t Know Me.” These songs show that despite her focus she is human, and suffers from fear (“High speed chase cause I’m running from something”). However tracks such as these are far and few between.
You can almost hear the effort depended on trying to be the next “one.” Which allows for some over indulgence and a lack of ability to edit the track listing; as displayed with the inclusion of songs like “Ride of Your Life” and “Party Favours.” As both songs want you to believe that an experience with her and her squad is exclusive and life changing but fail through the production and lyrics to make you hear an exciting difference. What is going to get her to Beyoncé-level fame and recognition will be making her own lane and hopefully finally creating a full body of work that sounds like it needed to be made, especially since her mix-tapes were more riveting in both content and production.