The "Reality Show" is the first great album of 2015, along with the new Mark Ronson album of course. Contemporary r'n'b has finally found a way not to sound boring and old. Many artists have contributed to this the last two years (Solange, Janelle Monae, Miguel, Beyonce, Jessie Ware, Banks, Tinashe, D'Angelo), so maybe Jazmine Sullivan has taken advantage of the situation, in order to record her best songs to date.
If we were supposed to describe Jazmine's sound, it would be "Late 90's neo-soul records with an electronic twist, built on drum machines and angry vocals". She is not Whitney, Beyonce or Mary J, but she has a killer voice and she knows how to showcase its powers each and every time. She's not into vocal tricks, long notes or falsettos. She may not have a powerful head voice, she may not have a head voice at all. She is hurting her throat in order to hit the high notes and sometimes you think she needs a glass of water. Well, it's not that funny as you are listening to her album, cause her delivery is more than precise and soulful. In fact, she sounds like all the great gospel singers throughout the music history, who later became great r'n'b and soul performers (right, talking about Aretha). Plus, she sings with swagger and no diva attitude.
The album is produced by Salaam Remi (Fugees, Fergie, Amy Winehouse, Nelly Furtado, Nas) and Key Wane ("Partition" by Beyonce is more than enough), among others. "Dumb" works as a powerful urban intro, while "Brand new" serves as a standard contemporary r'n'b anthem that every Mariah or Alicia could kill for. Pianos in "Silver lining" help making the song great, though it's not. "#Hoodlove" is where the action begins to take place, as the singer sounds frustrated and determined for the first time in here. Yes, it's the "Bust your windows" sequel. The acoustic "Forever Don't Last" is the perfect surprise bridge for the rest of the songs, while... wait! There's a second "Bust your windows" sequel and it's called "Stupid girl". Smartass move. But "Stanley"? Not even close, almost a fail. Thank God for the "If you dare" outro. It saves the day.
Jazmine's "Reality Show" is a proof that once again the r'n'b/soul genre is stronger than ever these days. Swagger mode: ON.