While pop’s prettiest posteriors were busy twerking for their lives all summer—their catchy rump-shakers sending tremors across dance floors worldwide—Tinashe managed to subtly slink into the party unannounced, directly into the spotlight.
The 21-year-old quadruple threat has risen above music’s collective moon, right to the top of the charts. Her first studio album, Aquarius, is a long time coming for the singing beauty who’s been hiking the Hollywood hills since she was a kid—as the half man’s girlfriend on Two And A Half Men, and part of a girl group, The Stunners, which toured with The Biebs in 2010. In other words, this young stunner is no newbie.
With Tinashe’s RCA debut on repeat, VIBE offers some analysis on her latest. —Shanel Odum
1. Tinashe’s slithering breakout single, “2 On,” was a strategic bait and switch. The static-sticky anthem wasn’t just served up as fete fuel; it was meant to draw us in, to make us curious about the pretty party-promoter and anxious for a debut project that bumps with bangers and swells with sweaty grinders.
2. Aquarius is not that album. (Which actually may be the reason it succeeds.) Instead, her debut is an emo opus—a catchy mix of kiss-the-sky-high hits and lo-fi lullabies that inspire you to get lifted, not turnt up.
3. Tinashe’s a tease. She includes five interludes and an outro on Aquarius and clearly gets off on whetting appetites.
4. Some of these interludes just slow down the show, though. (“Nightfall” is only six seconds short. Why?)
5. She’s a member of a new tribe of breathy songbirds with a penchant for trip hop and doped-up dub beats—a collective choir of pillow-talking purrers, who coo as much as they croon. Let’s just call them The Whisperers 2.0 (think: SZA, Banks, Kelela, Jhene Aiko, Cassie, FKA Twigs, and Willow Smith.)