Tinashe is back! The “2 On” songstress is fresh off of her outstanding Songs for You album with the lead single from her upcoming record, “Pasadena.” Between Songs for You and “Pasadena,” Tinashe dropped a few collaborations and a standalone single called “Rascal (Superstar).” With this new track, Tinashe has established yet another new shade of her musical identity with some help from Buddy, one of the most underrated rappers right now.
Built around a sample of OutKast’s classic “Hey Ya,” Tinashe goes for a less expected and less conventional take on a Song of the Summer candidate. Instead of an explosive or anthemic chorus, Tinashe opts for a breezier hook that, at its core, still feels like summer. The bouncy tempo of “Hey Ya” lends itself well to the vibes of summer, but Tinashe dials back the flamboyance of the original’s energy and chooses to go for a more laid-back approach. This approach works well against the sparse and percussive production, and the “hey hey heys” in the background add a bit of punch to the otherwise relaxed track. Tinashe sings “We’ve been workin’ way too hard, gotta live a little more,” a line that rings especially true following a year of overworking by way of the pandemic. With imagery of penthouses, weed, relaxation, and sunlight, “Pasadena” paints a beautiful picture of summer that places emphasis on soaking up the positivity of the season.
“Pasadena” follows “Glitch” as Tinashe and Buddy’s second official collaboration. The two artists have great chemistry, and Buddy is able to evoke the confident cool of André 3000 while still maintaining his own unique flair. Furthermore, it’s great to see Buddy and Tinashe function as real duet partners by providing each other with background vocals for their verses and joining forces on the chorus. This helps elevate “Pasadena” to more than just an average rent-a-rapper situation. “Pasadena” is certainly lighter than most of Songs for You, but it’s definitely not a lightweight track. Even though Tinashe’s vision for “Pasadena” is clear and perfectly executed, the use of the “Hey Ya” sample leaves more to be desired; OutKast’s track is almost too seismic for how breezy “Pasadena” is, but, then again, that’s what makes “Pasadena” interesting. We’re still searching for the definitive 2021 Song of the Summer, but “Pasadena” is a worthy contender.