Tinashe - Aquarius
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An Aquarius is described as a visionary and a loving soul, of whom which wants to change the world into a better place, and pushes to get everyone on board in this strive forward. And whether you buy into this philosophy plays a role on Tinashe's debut album Aquarius. If on board already, many will delve into this journey more willingly. But its credit to Tinashe that when its all over you can't help but feel slightly indulged.
The self-titled opener 'Aquarius' finds Tinashe irresistibly laying down her mission statement. She ends the track almost whispering "welcome to my world." Through the entirety of the album what becomes evident is that Tinashe certainly has her own vision and awareness of what is around her. On 'Cold Sweat' she admits "This pressure isn't for everybody" and even begins to fire shots, "Always got to co-sign, everything's a ten Damn I hate a yes man." It seems she isn't too fond of what comes with a major label deal. A bold statement for an artist who could have easily slipped the path of another recycled female R&B singer.
And she continues to hold her own. When services are called on, Tinashe battles with the heavy weights of rap to great success. On '2 On' Schoolboy Q does his best to keep up, yet we find Tinashe flexing rather than assisting "Get faded, turn up with the big boys / Live fast, die young that's my choice / Get money, get money like an invoice ." When matched up against Future on the raunchy 'How Many Times' she doesn't doesn't shy from her sexual endeavors. On the trouble filled relationship 'Pretend' she comes off as painfully honest with the help of A$AP Rocky. With female R&b artists often used as assets for many rappers, it's refreshing to see Tinashe not only knocking heads with the heavy weights, but excelling beyond. With 'Thug Cry' being the pinnacle of it all. "But I got you wrapped around my finger, Yeah you be thanking the lord, You're all mine, Ain't that right."
What is so fascinating about Tinashe is that she can take the minimalist route with her sultry, softly spoken voice yet also has the ability to pull out the vocal skills. The biggest hit of the album is the Stargate produced 'Feels Like Vegas'. The track feels like the most extravagant pre drinks, followed by the best night of your life. Such an accomplished and polished track proves Tinashe is a star of her own making. Production wise risks are taken to great reward with the experimental drums on 'Far side of the Moon' and the almost M83 mixed with Daft Punk 'Wildfire'. However there are some drawbacks to the record. With the Aquarius theme comes a series of interludes. Rather than helping the flow of the record they break up the enjoyment. There are some throw away tracks such as 'Bated Breath' which feels like a bit too much of the same. The underlying problem is that the whole concept of the record seems to imply its a lot heavier than it is. Stripped down the album would feel a lot more cohesive, and may even emulate more the journey she was hoping to portray.
Although she has not perfected her sound, and her vision maybe a bit more blurred than she believes it to be, there is no denying that Tinashe has the factor and appeal to go extremely far and Aquarius is an exciting first glimpse of this journey.
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