Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Tinashe’s BB/ANG3L is an exciting new step for the cult R&B star


Release date: 08 September 2023
Tinashe BBANG3 L
11 September 2023, 14:00 Written by Sam Franzini

For years, Tinashe has been putting out experimental, consistently fun pop, always paired with creativity and passion shown in her joyous, meticulous music videos.

Particularly the years after her very public label fallout, there’s been a freedom in her music that wasn’t always allowed with RCA. 2019’s smooth Songs For You and 2021’s jumpy, varied 333, while still feeling like fully put-together projects, provided ample jumping-off points to an elevated sound. BB/ANG3L, the singer’s fifth album, might just be the strongest foot forward.

Arriving last Friday with only seven tracks, BB/ANG3L was bemoaned by fans as basically an EP, which is valid, but one that makes the most out of its runtime. “Treason,” the opening track, starts with a jangly arrangement of synths before crescendoing in energy. “Hate myself for treason,” she self-admonishes, before going back to a previous partner for one night. That may be the same person on “Tightrope,” where her whispered, airy vocals sing of nights driving around Los Angeles with a partner before their relationship turned sour. “Not in my right mind,” she admits, over the frenetic and tight breakbeat instrumental – a refreshing sound, even after records by Kelela and NewJeans earlier this year incorporated it.

The atmospheric lead single “Talk To Me Nice” is also new ground for Tinashe, a mesmerizing track interspersed with vocal chops and a driving bassline. She’s self-sufficient, grounded in her own person – “This a feeling that money can’t buy / Couldn’t be fake if I tried” – but still is open to others coming to appreciate her and her merit. “Come get me laid, sing me lullabies,” she sings, “Come drive me crazy ‘fore I catch a flight.” “Gravity,” too, like “Tightrope,” uses its enigmatic vocal performance to discuss indecision: “I’ve been drowning in my dreams again,” she says, “I can’t decide if I trust my heart or trust my eyes.” But its hypnotic end, her cries to pull her back down to earth, makes for a dreamy finish.

Even on tracks where she isn’t necessarily inventing anything new, playing around in contemporary sets of R&B and trap, there’s still a spark that makes them hard-to-miss. “Needs” is one of those tracks, a flirty number whose food references were inspired by a Samantha storyline in Sex and the City. “Uh Huh” is a slower effort, whose chorus is composed of that onomatopoeia, but offers commentary on a developing, deepening relationship. “I never expected this is how it would go,” she says, “It was just for the plot, but baby, I’m back for more.”

At only seven tracks, I have to join in the crowds that are hoping this is part 1 of a larger project, or at the very least, indicative of a move towards the breakbeat, electronic sounds she flaunted with here. Is BB/ANG3L teaser or torture? A little bit of both, but as R&B’s most solid underground hitmaker, it’s certain Tinashe will create something just as fun and down-to-earth soon to come.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next