Independence looks good on Tinashe. With former label RCA firmly in the rearview, she’s been free to indulge: On 2019’s Songs for You and 2021’s 333, her first albums to be self-released, she swapped out the moody sonics and went all-in on genre experimentation (drum’n’bass on “Shy Guy,” retro-futuristic funk on “Perfect Crime”), swapping between singing and rapping with hedonistic fervor. She’s been in a constant honeymoon phase since striking out on her own, and her latest project, BB/ANG3L, maintains that spirit while making a few tweaks. At only seven tracks, it’s less sprawling but just as confident: as stylish and focused as a runway walk.

Romance is evergreen in R&B, but Tinashe handles each side—messy sneaky links, brash come-ons, throbbing heartbreak—with care. She’s either cozied up with or thinking about a paramour on each of these songs, flitting between love, lust, and inhibition. On opener “Treason,” she’s running red lights, willing to risk it all for a new lover. Two songs later, on the wavy single “Needs,” she’s demanding top from a fling before immediately creating distance: “Don’t call me,” she coos with a smirk. “I can’t be ya one and only.” Against producers Royce David and JonnyMade’s breezy hyphy swing, she sounds like she’s giving orders from a beach chaise.

Tinashe can play all these roles, but BB/ANG3L skews warm and seductive—the kind of songs you might hear in the champagne room or the private suite instead of the strip club. “Uh Huh,” a slow-burning, velvet-sheeted sex jam that sounds airlifted from an mid-aughts Mariah Carey album, is most blatant, but the feeling comes through in the livelier cuts too. “Talk to Me Nice” moves at a steady clip, but Tinashe’s whispers and head voice land like breath on the nape of neck. On “Gravity” and “None of My Business,” her voice is subsumed by soft swells of ambient synth. She’s giving herself over to the moment in more ways than one.

BB/ANG3L is her most streamlined work to date, a lean and eclectic showcase in the vein of projects like FKA twigs’ 2022 mixtape CAPRISONGS. “Treason,” produced by North Carolina’s Machinedrum, and “None of my Business,” co-produced by Royce David and Platinum Libraries, backdrop Tinashe’s balladry with bubbly synth arrangements. “Gravity,” produced by Finnish ambient-techno savant Vladislav Delay, sounds like an homage to Kelela’s Raven. Its angelic harmonies and frenetic drums dovetail nicely with the nervy energy of Nosaj Thing and Scoop Deville’s work on “Talk to Me Nice” and Machinedrum’s footwork-esque beat on closer “Tightrope.” But whether icy, seductive, or lovelorn, there’s an earnestness to every song that keeps BB/ANG3L down to earth. “I want it to feel like this album is whispering in your ear,” Tinashe said in an interview with Dazed. It’s that sense of intimacy, combined with her thriving confidence, that makes BB/ANG3L so potent.