Zimbabwe born twenty-something Tinashe is a feel-good breath of fresh air to contemporary popular music. Not obsessed with trying to replicate any specific style, 'Saved' is an eleven track effort of catchy, soulful pop with slick and funky bass lines particularly dominant in the mix throughout.
Starting with title track 'Saved', its out and out upbeat feel-good pop from the start with a catchy 'ooh' hook, stop verses and pop string quartet backing. 'If You Say So' encapsulates the same catchy upbeat pop but with more of a rock edge. Already Tinashe establishes resemblance to feel-good bands such as Scouting For Girls, The Hoosiers and The Feeling; a style which continues throughout the entirety of the album ('The Feeling', 'Guilt Proof Vest' etc).
'Good Times', undoubtedly one of the albums' highlights, has an infectious piano-accompanied 'do do do' introduction and groovy stop verse. In his lyrics, Tinashe talks of his 'God damn quarter life crisis', adolescence and wanting to be young again with the repeated line chorus 'take me back to the good times'. The clap along scat breakdown towards the end of 'Good Times' sits nicely and sparks to mind influence of Jamie Cullum-esque jazz pop and, more significantly, of his African roots.
During the first ten years of his life, Tinashe lived in the suburbs of a Zimbabwean city; the influence of his Zimbabwean upbringing and heritage ripples throughout the album but is most blatant in 'Zambezi', both in the lyrical content and its African chant-like chorus and female backing vocals which progress into a dialogue with Tinashe. Throughout 'Zambezi', there's a thudding bass drum creating a foot-tapping pound and the duration of the track maintains a dance-like groove. While later, there's more of an indie-rock edge to 'Mr Presumption' with its drum rim percussion and intermittent snare fills coupled with the interlocking Bloc Party-like guitar parts before kicking into a driving pop song. 'She Gives A Damn', on the other hand, with its strong, finger snapping offbeat, harks back to motown.
With this feel-good album of catchy upbeat songs and glimmering suggestions of his African musical heritage, Tinashe showcases himself as a Zimbabwe-born Will Young or Daniel Merriweather, proving much versatility in his vocals and flexibility in genre; an easy and enjoyable listen.