HEAUX TALES (JAZMINE SULLIVAN)

RELEASED 8TH JANUARY 2021

Favourite track: Put It Down

Full of tales from various women and songs to reflect the good and bad in relationships. Great vocal works and honest lyrics.

I only know US RnB singer, Jazmine Sullivan, duet to her hit song ‘Bust Your Windows’ (released back in 2008) but I had never heard a whole album of hers through and through so when I saw she had one out just last week I decided to give it a listen. The 14-track album Heaux Tales has cover artwork depicting the artist in cycling shorts and a leather jacket with bold yellow text on the left-hand side.

Image credit: Revolt TV

The album opens with ‘Bodies – Intro’ which opens with warm synths and muffled audio before she clearly says “bitch, get it together” which gives me the impression this song is a pep-talk to herself to stop doing the stuff she’s doing. It’s got a slow feel to it with no beat just an echoed clap/click in the background and lots of vocal harmony work in the background. ‘Antoinette’s Tale’ is more of a skit about men not being able to handle the fact that women are also sexual beings which kind of links to the first song which tells the story of her own sexual freedom. We’ve got more of a sexy RnB beat, snare, funky bassline and vocal choral work that has a little Gospel feel in ‘Pick Up Your Feelings’. It’s got a strong message about how she’s “learned her lesson” and now approaches the guy she’s singing to with an unapologetic cold attitude. Her vocal work here is great and I can see this working so well in a TV series/Rom-Com after a girl realises her worth.

‘Ari’s Tale’ (featuring Ari Lennox) is a skit about how she was “willing to ruin my career” as she confesses her truth. ‘Put It Down’ has got a light Trap beat but playful vocal structure and beautiful RnB harmonies. It’s a VERY catchy song for sure and has that positive feel when you’re first seeing someone and it’s all going right. ‘On It’ features Ari Lennox again but this time we’ve got a slow song that opens with strummed dream guitar, gorgeous harmonies and a really slow sexy RnB beat. The vocal work here is so pretty as they sing about what they want to do with their man. Another skit, ‘Donna’s Tale’ looks at the power games between men and women and how people don’t keep it real with their intentions. These skits are a nice touch as they break up the album and add more of a personal, real touch to the songs that also feature. It blends nicely into the song that follows, ‘Pricetags’ (ft. Anderson. Paak) which has a Funk bassline, solid Hip-Hop beat and classic Hip-Hop/RnB vocal structure. It’s definitely the song for a bad bitch who is about her money. I like the contrast with the male vocal feature with his verse.

‘Rashida’s Tale’ opens with lovely female vocals in the background with an audio about cheating in a relationship from the perspective of the cheater which is interesting to include. I love the beginning to ‘Lost One’ – it’s so dreamy and melancholic but also so raw with the lyrics. This song is definitely a song that looks at how you act when you fuck up something and you realise it’s your fault as the other person is no longer there. It’s got a selfish feel about it but I think that’s also an honest perspective and one you don’t hear on female albums usually as often they talk about how it feels to be hurt rather than hurt someone else.

‘Precious’ Tale’ is all about how she only wants a man with money because she also makes her money and it’s all about growing together and what he brings to the table. ‘The Other Side’ opens with atmospheric vocals, piano and then suddenly flips into warped synths and a slow echoed beat. This one is all about wanting to have money and a different lifestyle. ‘Amanda’s Tale’ is about the current issues I think so many relate to where someone may be with you, but you’re paranoid they will cheat and so you try to keep them in the ways you know how rather than just relaxing. H.E.R features on ‘Girls Like Me’, the last song of the album, which is about a failed relationship. It’s a sad one with acoustic guitar in the background providing the rhythm about how there’s “no hope for a girl like me” and how the way she’s been treated will “make a hoe out of me” due to what she feels pushed to do to be desirable.

This album is one that definitely tells a story and I love the break between songs with the tales from various women that explore modern relationships and the honest feelings associated to the experiences they’ve been through.