Category: Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine Sullivan: 'I definitely don’t want to be known as the angry chick'

Jazmine_Sullivan_10_Seconds_Cover_art_without_text Jazmine Sullivan admits she was a complete mess when the time came to record her sophomore album.

The 23-year-old released her debut album, “Fearless,” in 2008, and it ended up being one of the the biggest R&B albums that year. It garnered seven Grammy nominations, including best new artist, and has since sold 517,000 copies in the U.S.

She was quickly heralded as her generation's answer to Mary J. Blige, thanks to her heartbreaking tales of love gone wrong –- and her penchant for sweet revenge as evidenced on the album’s breakout hit, “Bust Your Windows.”

But going into the studio for the record’s follow up, “Love Me Back,” was a nerve-wracking experience for the Philadelphia native, who was worried about a sophomore slump.

“I didn’t know if [the album] was hot, or if people were going to like it or what they were going to think,” Sullivan said. "It was stressing me a little bit.”

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Album review: Jazmine Sullivan's 'Love Me Back'

Jazminesullivan As long as Missy Elliott keeps withholding a new album from her listeners, now nearly despondent from neglect, we'll have to make do with salvos from her protégés. The good news is that Jazmine Sullivan, only 23, is already her own tough-loving individual on her sophomore album, “Love Me Back.”

With a lived-in voice that's scratched and ragged at the edges, Sullivan walks herself to the precipice of emotion without falling off. Instead she finds the plaintive center, the kind of soothing intimacy that almost seems like the way we'd sing to ourselves in times of trouble. Whether the heartsick R&B of the piano-driven “Stuttering” or the Elliott-produced, sample-stacked “Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles),” Sullivan pours herself into the songs yet keeps her ground, no matter the style or tone.

Executive produced by Elliott and Salaam Remi (responsible for Sullivan's breakout hit, “Bust Your Windows”), “Love Me Back” gives Sullivan the opportunity to test ideas. On “Don't Make Me Wait,” she frolics in her purple legwarmers to Prince-inspired synth-aerobics, her voice a breathy tease. Overall, “Love Me Back” could use more experimentation — it feels a little static with too many similar-sounding songs.

But there's no denying Sullivan's comfort zone. For “U Get On My Nerves,” she and sparring partner Ne-Yo capture “the ex doth protest too much” syndrome. As they both rant about the other, you can practically see them climbing into bed for one last try — and one last fight.

— Margaret Wappler

Jazmine Sullivan
“Love Me Back”
J Records
Three stars

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