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Review: Tinashe's 'Aquarius'

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R&B newcomer Tinashe makes quite an entrance with her scintillating major-label debut, Aquarius. Following the rampant success of her infectious first single “2 On,” anticipation for Tinashe’s first major release had been running high for months. Slinky, sensual and smooth, Aquarius is everything early listeners had been expecting from the 21-year-old songstress. The album is reminiscent of Tinashe’s independent mixtape releases; a marriage between the edginess of alternative soul music and the shimmery appeal of commercial R&B. Aquarius is not Earth-shatteringly incredible, but still an impressive debut nonetheless.

Tinashe explores a broad array of styles on Aquarius, showcasing her vocal and stylistic versatility. The album features an eclectic mix of collaborators, ranging from popular rappers such as A$AP Rocky to instantly-recognizable instrumentalists like Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange. While Aquarius includes both radio-ready tracks like “Feels Like Vegas” and experimental slow-burners like “Bated Breath,” the album runs with a remarkable amount of sleekness and cohesion. Elements from 90’s R&B are present throughout the project, adding a layer of nostalgia and familiarity for the listener. The tracks are unified by the overarching smooth, lusty sound of the album.

Sultry, bold and magnetic, Tinashe exhibits her infinite potential to become an R&B superstar onAquarius. Singing with utmost sass and conviction, she is able to own each track, outshining her high-profile collaborators. Tinashe exudes a mesmerizing confidence and energy that sets her apart from her alt-R&B peers such as Jhene Aiko and BANKS. With her slinky major-label debut, Tinashe has proven that she has vocal prowess and charisma to thrive in the current climate of R&B.

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