Published Jan 11, 2021Jazmine Sullivan's Heaux Tales plays like a late-night, wine-infused discussion amongst girlfriends about the sincere moments that yield the grey area between love and lust. The Philadelphia native divinely couples a series of intimate confessions with painfully honest, spine-tingling ballads that situate secular sex anecdotes as the gospel at church. Preaching to the choir, every song captures junctures that are birthed by the rose-coloured eyes of romance — where insecurities are heightened and desire is a driving force that either leads to nights of empowerment or regret.
On "Bodies (Intro)," Sullivan illustrates a woman's internal dialogue while in a questionable circumstance with a man she has no business spending the night with. Despite societal pressures, she is unapologetic and describes her newfound liberation on "Pick Up Your Feelings." Heaux Tales' greatest takeaway is "On It," featuring Ari Lennox, whose voice melts into Sullivan's like butter, both emphasizing the agency of the modern-day woman who is unafraid to demand all forms of intimacy — especially when advocating for her own pleasure.
The second half of the project steers away from a woman reluctantly owning her sexual freedom to the thoughts that creep in after she's 'set free' of society's crippling sexist chokehold. Whether through marriage or some other entanglement, "money keeps the pussy wet," says Sullivan on "Pricetags," where she explores the intricacies of currency in relationships with the help of Anderson .Paak. "The Other Side" drives the importance of money home, sharing a woman's dream of meeting a millionaire and using her looks as currency. Finally, Heaux Tales explores the impact of luxury lifestyles on Instagram. On "Girl Like Me," Sullivan and H.E.R. grapple with the notion that lavish symbolism has entered the zeitgeist and whether chasing the fast life is ultimately the way to get ahead.
Sullivan is often overlooked as the R&B master she is, but her latest project displays the vocal range of legends before her, demonstrating her ability to capture the qualms of life and love relevant to the realities of dating in the age of the internet. (RCA)