REVIEW: Should Have Been Bigger: Tinashe’s “All Hands On Deck”

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n this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

Tinashe was one of pop’s latest “It” girl in 2015. The year before, she stormed the Billboard Hot 100 with her insanely catchy debut single, “2 On.” Combining slick R&B beats with sing-along pop melodies, she had one of the year’s most memorable club hits on her hands. Riding the wave of success, she unveiled her debut LP, Aquarius. As the album climbed the charts, it seemed destined to set her up with a string of singles one more massive than the next.

One of those glimmering potential hits was the StarGate and Cashmere Cat-produced “All Hands On Deck.” With a writing credit from Bebe Rexha, who was just beginning her own solo career, the track sees the hitmaker moving on from a breakup with a declaration of independence. Another searing club cut, it was hailed as the perfect follow-up to “2 On” and looked like a surefire chart-topper when it was selected as the project’s third single.

“Wasted hard. When you left me, you left me with no choice. I’m looking for a boy to fill this empty void. Kiss the old me goodbye. She’s dead and gone,” Tinashe teases her ex over sparse beats and eerie synths. Liberated from her previous beau, she is confidently on the prowl for a new adventure on the dance floor. Things reach a fever pitch as she commands attention on the chorus. “All hands on deck. All in the front all in the back just like that, like that. I’mma blow your mind, take it out on the floor like that.”

If the track itself was hot, the video was an even more impressive feat. Teaming up with director Ben Mor, Tinashe paid tribute to the golden days of pop in the early aughts with an irresistible spectacle. In it, she and a group of dancers took over a shipping yard to showcase some enviable dance moves. Serving iconic looks and intricate choreography, the daring superstar was utterly captivating as she danced 100 feet above the ground in a shipping container.

Her debut release showed her promise, but her latest single allowed the hitmaker a chance to truly embody the pop star she had become. She recreated the impressive choreographic feats when she hit a series of late night shows to promote the single, and it became a gem in the setlist for her Aquarius Tour.

Anthemic and empowering, the single seemed destined to hit big. But Tinashe called in a favor to sweeten the deal. She and her label recruited Iggy Azalea for a remix of the track that should have guaranteed its success. With Tinashe scheduled to join her on The Great Escape Tour in the second half of 2015, it was the perfect pairing of powerful women. Fresh off a string of massive hits including “Fancy,” “Problem” and “Black Widow,” the Aussie femcee delivered a fierce guest verse.

However, things did not work out. Despite the promotional push, “All Hands On Deck” failed to take off on the charts. Although it just missed the top 10 on Billboard’s R&B Songs chart, it totally missed the Billboard Hot 100 and failed to make an impact in most global markets.

Although the single stalled on the charts, it remains one of Tinashe’s hottest releases to date and still brims over with the pop princess’ full potential. Here’s hoping she is able to recapture the undeniable production and find some well-earned success on her long-awaited LP, Joyride, in 2018. Revisit the sexy video below!

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