Songs for You may be R&B-pop eclecticist Tinashe's fourth full-length release, but for a musician whose career has been christened a cautionary tale (false starts, delayed albums, lack of radio support, critically acclaimed mixtapes closely followed by sporadic single drops), it feels like her first. Now an independent artist—five years removed from the clubby Drake-approved and -remixed "2 On," which launched her career, and the major-label debut Aquarius, which sustained it—Tinashe's battle for self-expression has paid off. The result is an album that sounds like liberation, traversing genre (the G-funk "Hopscotch," acoustic guitar-pop on "Remember When," even the disco of "Perfect Crime" with the ease and confidence of someone newly unburdened by extramusical pressure.
The album is a showcase of versatility: Opener "Feelings" is smooth, sex-positive emo trap.* *On* *"Die a Little Bit," featuring Londoner Ms Banks, Tinashe delivers jagged '90s house—she also raps, and grunts, and contorts her voice into a hoarse, breathy murmur—a combination previously unheard in her more polished recordings. "Touch & Go," her collaboration with Atlanta's 6LACK, is the album's breakup ballad. "Story of Us," produced by "SICKO MODE" mastermind OZ, is the album’s heart: its truest moment of alt-R&B. Scattered throughout are slinky Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, and FKA twigs impressions.