To say that I love Jazmine Sullivan’s music would be an understatement. It’s her sultry tone, a lower register that feels like it reaches the pit of your stomach and runs that send chills down your spine. What’s not to love?
Many may know her from her scorned lover anthem ‘Bust Your Windows’. In this one, she belts out the many methods that she uses to destroy the car of a man who did her wrong. Although it is not advisable to try this at home for fear of legal repercussions, the song is a jaw-dropping indication of Jazmine’s range and ability to sing with raw emotion.
In her new project dubbed ‘Heaux Tales’, Jazmine explores a new kind of sound. One that feels much more personal and relatable to the struggles of modern-day women. She speaks about everything from the perils of Tinder in ‘Girl Like Me’ to imagining a different life as a ‘barbie’ in Atlanta after being ‘broke’ and ‘struggling’ with ordinary life in ‘The Other Side’. The project is punctuated by tracks called ‘stories’ where different women recount their experiences in relationships. The subsequent songs relate to the story told.
In ‘Bodies’, Jazmine explores juggling between her bodily autonomy and feeling ‘sloppy’. The song itself is catchy with a rap-singing style that is also found in her song ‘Insecure’ made for the popular series by Issa Rae of the same name. Jazmine shows off her underrated lyricism without losing her signature runs that make you rewind just to make sure you weren’t hallucinating the notes you just heard.
The project takes a turn at one of the lead singles called ‘Pick up your feelings’. Here, we get a stripped back listen of Jazmine’s vocals. With Jazmine, even the occasional twang of a guitar, a steady drumbeat and the use of pauses feel full as she effortlessly glides through the track. The song chronicles being fed up with a relationship where one is expected to carry all of the emotional baggage of the other. This song will have you deep in your feelings and wanting to break up with anyone who crosses your path.
In her lead single ‘Lost Ones’, Jazmine painfully recounts the devastation of realising who the one that got away is. The song begins solemnly with a lonely guitar leading into Jazmine’s dejection becoming apparent in long, low dragging notes. The song transitions into her higher register as she begs a former flame not to have ‘too much fun’ without her presence in their life. She sings about her insecurities and shortcomings in a heartbreakingly transparent way. The song builds into more layered, complex vocals and comes to a satisfying halt just short of 3 minutes.
For all of the emotion on the project, it is hard to believe that a fun track such as ‘Put it down’ could possibly fit in but it does. This is a hip hop inspired track with a beat that just makes you want to move. This song is the one you play when getting ready to go out. This is the one you play with the windows down, speeding down the highway on a sunny day. It is, put quite simply, a vibe. It’s also one that I think will be better enjoyed when we can go outside.
As part of the promotion for this project, Jazmine recently had a Tiny Desk concert. It is always remarkable to find artists who give their music a new lease of life when performed live. Jazmine certainly falls in that category. She performs with the same honesty that her music contains. Nothing is contrived and she has the luxury of relying on her voice to leave a lasting impression.
After being criminally underrated, my hope is that this project will be the reintroduction of Jazmine Sullivan for those who only know her from ‘Bust Your Windows’. This EP is cohesive, vulnerable and smooth. I am one fan that is happy to see Jazmine return with a project that truly shows off her vocals and inner monologue.