R&B | Soul
Ignoring the fact that it took me another trip to the new releases page on Album Of The Year, Heaux Tales was a project that I’ve seen appear slightly often during my typical music browsing.
Besides which, my skim over of this album promised what seemed like a very soulful experience. Add to that the inclusion of Anderson .Paak on one of its tracks, and that seemed like enough to persuade me.
Heaux Tales is the fourth studio album from American singer/songwriter Jazmine Sullivan, who I was introduced to through the discovery of this album. That said, I wasn’t instantly sure as to what I could expect. However, by the looks of it, Heaux Tales came across as an album with narrative at the forefront. With a total of 6 interludes (almost one between every full song this album has), that definitely seemed to be the case.
But make no mistake, these interludes felt far from throwaway or filler. With each tying into both the album title, as well as each-other, these interludes essentially did a good job of gluing the pieces of this album together quite tidily.
And considering that the soulfully slinky aesthetic Heaux Tales carries (one that feels comparable to Teyana Taylors The Album, for instance), the narrative strength this album has plays a big role in allowing it to stand out a bit more from similar projects.
Another great attribute this album has, aside from its narrative, is Jazmine Sullivan herself, and her amazing vocal range (songs such as “Pick Up Your Feelings” are the best examples of putting her vocals on full display).
Pair Jazmine Sullivan’s compelling vocals with the narrative flow, and you have a very immersive story, in which Sullivan reflects upon all that she has gained, and all that she has lost, through sex and love, and reminds listeners, that only they own their body; nobody else does.
But where the story of this album excels, some of its other aspects falter. For starters, this album isn’t nearly as big as it seems. Take the interludes away from the list of 14 tracks, and you only have 8 full songs. As a result, this album only lasts just over 30 mins, and arguably would’ve felt more like an EP if you took away those 6 interludes. I had no real qualms with the majority of the tracks, but I would’ve loved to have heard more.
And as far as uniqueness goes, almost all of the tracks seem to play it safe stylistically and structurally. But for listeners who have been following Jazmine Sullivan longer than I have, I’m sure that this is a more than welcome element.
Which actually brings me to the belief that many people, who are still looking for their first accessible music fix of 2021, Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales may just be it. And with the narrative to back it, this album definitely feels like one that is best enjoyed from beginning to end.
Favourite Tracks: Pick Up Your Feelings | Pricetags | Lost One
Least Favourite Track: Girl Like Me
RCA Records | Sony Music
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 7/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10
Uniqueness: 6/10 | Satisfaction : 7/10 | Narrative: 9/10