Hopefully, the track will serve as a re-boot for the star’s long-delayed second album.
Tinashe has been trying for a very long time to get her second album released. Initially announced in the autumn of 2015 (!) in an interview with Rolling Stone, the album was christened Joyride and was described as “dangerous” and “explosive,” with production cuts with everyone from alt-pop tastemaker Dev Hynes to Swedish svengali Max Martin.
A single – ‘Player’ – was released, but stalled. Then, everything just kind of stopped. There were one-off singles – the perky ‘Superlove’ and the seductive ‘Flame’ – but nothing seemed to stick and Joyride was delayed indefinitely, stuck in purgatory.
Now, two years after dropping the ‘Nightride’ mixtape, Tinashe emerges from her hibernation with the hypnotic ‘No Drama,’ a delicious slice of R&B with hazy beats and a guest verse from Migos member Offset.
The song sees Tinashe definitely DTF. She wants ‘No Drama’ you know. But she also uses the icy, sparse Stargate production to address some of the perceived problems with getting Joyride off the ground.
“Said I’m falling off but they won’t JFK me,” she purs, speaking on her label troubles. “Tried to be myself but they won’t AKA me, AKA a popstar, AKA a problem.”
There is a however, a but. ’No Drama’ doesn’t sound especially like a hit. It pops off in all the right places, that can’t be denied. But it doesn’t sound like the type of track that has the power to kickstart a second album campaign for the third time. It lacks the urgency of breakout single ‘2 On’ but it does sound like a good place to start over.
It’s very ‘tastemaker-y’ and having a Migos member on your track is always a good sign for some actual radio play. Re-launching with this track seems to indicate that Tinashe isn’t chasing hits anymore, which is a good thing.
She tried her best to sell herself as an out-and-out pop star, but ‘Flame’ and especially ‘Superlove’ seemed insincere, that Tinashe has lost a bit of herself along the way trying to find a worthy follow-up to ‘2 On’ and had forgotten what made her such a joy to listen to in the first place; she owned that hazy line between commercial hip-hop, R&B and pop music.
As it stands, ‘No Drama’ makes a pretty great sonic sequel to the ‘Nightride’ tracks ‘Party Favours’ and ‘Company,’ two tracks in which Tinashe seemed more confident, riffing off her R&B heritage with hip-hop beats and a slinky vocal performance.
So, let’s chalk this one up as a hesitant success. A great re-entry into the arena for Tinashe, and a sure sign that there are more (and possibly better?) things to come.
There’s still no word yet of an official release for Joyride, but ‘No Drama’ seems to be the first of three singles to be released over the coming weeks, also including ‘Me So Bad’ and ‘Faded Love.’
Words by George Griffiths