New Musical Express (NME) - 80 Based on rating 4/5
Fans have been waiting a long, long time for Tinashe's second album, but if they thought their two-and-a-half year wait was difficult, it was nothing on Tinashe's. 'Joyride' was first announced in 2015, but was then delayed, as her label allegedly chose to focus on 1D usurper Zayn Malik's music - something Tinashe revealed she was less than impressed with. This frustration led to her leaking her own track 'Party Favors', and then dropping 'Nightride' 2016; but now, almost three years since the first trailer was released on YouTube, 'Joyride' is finally here in its entirety.
There was a point before the release of Joyride when the trajectory of Tinashe's music career appeared to be tracing that of Cassie. Tinashe had the platinum debut single with "2 On," a solid parent album, and waning momentum after relatively minor chart success with the follow-up singles. The situation worsened as the arrival of Joyride was delayed and a tour was consequently scrapped.
Urgency fuels the long-awaited full-length album, Joyride, by Tinashe. To say that this has been long gestating would be putting it mildly; after dropping the summer hit "2 On" and a strong debut album in 2014, Aquarius, the buzz from Tinashe meant that Joyride was due for a rollout back in 2015, but despite a single or two, it looked like it wouldn't see the light of day. A second effort, 2016's Nightshade, was a mixtape meant to tide us over, but by then we were too primed for the much-promised release.
Joyride is finally here and it highlights the artist's promise and potential, while, at the same time, leaving us wondering what the wait was about.
Tinashe first announced Joyride back three years ago. It was right after the release of her major-label debut, Aquarius, an ambitious statement of dance pop, experimental R&B, and understated ballads that allowed her personality to shine through it all. Since then, her airy soprano was a proven vessel for Top 40 fodder, and her music videos and live shows revealed a performer in the mold of pop music's greats, some of whom have gone on to tacitly acknowledge her as such.
For all of Tinashe Kachingwe's club-to-bedroom bangers - and on her sophomore album, Joyride, there are many - the young R&B singer's vocal control comes across in unexpected ways. Take "Salt," a heavy song about being ditched in a hotel lobby that's full of subtle brilliance. Tinashe sings the words "Darling" and "I've been slowly dying" a touch after the beat, dragging her voice to full stops again and again like she's waltzing in shackles.
At first, Tinashe's "Joyride" was supposed to drop as her sophomore LP in early 2016, and early 2016 came and went. Then it was slated for later that year, with even a lead single to show for it, but instead she gave us the woozy "Nightride." Now, it's been more than 2½ years after the initial album teases hit the Internet, and her "Joyride"-or-die attitude finally comes to fruition Friday with the album's release. When any album is so heavily hyped, some disappointment in the reality of it is almost inevitable, and the 13 trim tracks of "Joyride" don't entirely escape this, but there's enough here to bite into and leave satisfied.