Jazmine Sullivan dropped the deluxe version of her critically-acclaimed album “Heaux Tales” a year after its initial release. The album, titled “Heaux Tales Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe,” features five new songs each accompanied by a tale (a short spoken interlude) spoken by celebrities ranging from Emmy-nominated actress and director Issa Rae to Sullivan herself.
“Heaux Tales” received high praise in 2021. National Public Radio named it album of the year, it ranked number seven on the Rolling Stones 50 Best Albums of 2021 list and it’s projected to win big at the Grammys.
If you read my review last year about its original release, you know how deeply I appreciated this album. At the time, it acted as an indirect clapback to men in the music industry for their constant criticism of women speaking about their bodies and sexual desires.
The new songs featured on the deluxe maintain that message while taking a more soulful approach.
The first bonus song, “Tragic,” is introduced by a tale from Issa Rae. As a fan of Rae’s hit show “Insecure,” I was extremely excited about this feature. Rae talks about a previous relationship she had with a man who took a job opportunity out of the country. After helping him pack, Rae and her partner took it to the bedroom for a final goodbye. What Rae expected to be a long and passionate excursion … ended in less than a minute.
Rae’s comedic storytelling folds perfectly into Sullivan’s soulful lyrics. The song, which samples audio from Representative Maxine Waters’ iconic line “reclaiming my time,” calls out men's lack of attention in the bedroom.
“Why do you be looking for me to do all the work? I'm too tired of coming through. You never put me first,” encompasses the main message of the song.
Moral of the story: Men, don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. Please. We’re begging.
The deluxe also features a “Breaux’s Tale” from an unidentified man. Although the original album only included tales from women, having a male perspective was quite refreshing.
The gentleman describes his life as a player until a certain woman in his life makes him want to change his ways. He finds himself acting out of character and wanting to devote all his time and energy to this woman. Once he asks the fateful question — “What are we?” — all hell breaks loose. The woman he was so infatuated with wasn’t really thinking about him.
I think the culture of being a “player” needs to die where it stands, but this is something men have been doing to women since the dawn of time. If men can do it, why can’t women? Let’s level the playing field, ladies.
My favorite of all the deluxe singles is called “Hurt Me So Good.” This track is preceded by a tale in which Sullivan herself talks about her struggles with love in her own life. She talks about craving the love she saw between her parents and her issues with needing validation from men.
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In this song, she tells a soulful tale of her life in past relationships — a life of settling, toxicity and heartbreak.
We all have a desire to love and to be loved. But this song shares a message to listeners of what we should avoid in our relationships. We’re all deserving of love and reciprocity and shouldn’t settle for anything less than that.
That’s what the “Heaux Tales” project as a whole is trying to say. It’s truly a love letter to women asking them to never forget who they are and what they want out of their relationships. This project has been on repeat for the last year and with the addition of these new singles, its rotation is bound to continue.