Believe it or not, today’s post and yesterday’s post were not planned. It’s just a coincidence they’re both reality show themed and back to back lol.
Mostly because yesterday’s post was kind of random and unplanned. I’ve been reading post after think-piece about Black women on TV (be it in Shondaland fiction or Mona Scott Young surreality) over the last few weeks. I felt compelled to address the idea, in my own way, especially since I had received an email inquiring about reality TV casting.
Oddly enough, when I wrote and published yesterday’s post, I had completely forgotten I’d had an AudioFiles post queued up to discuss Jazmine Sullivan’s third studio album, Reality Show. I’ve been listening to the album ad nauseam. (That is, when I’m not listening to any number of podcasts I listen to with regularlity, like TWiB or IQ2US.) I haven’t been this engrossed in
an R&B any album since my girl Tamar Braxton’s Love and War. And since I’ve never really tried to articulate my thoughts or feelings about music, I wanted to feature Reality Show as one of my AudioFiles.
Truth be told, I’ve never been a Jazmin Sullivan fan and haven’t listened to either of her 2 previous albums. I knew she had a wickedly talented voice and range but I just didn’t really connect with most of the singles I’d heard, except “Bust Your Windows” (my zumba instructor does a tight tango number to it). Though I’d heard some buzz about her newest album she dropped at the beginning of this year, I was unmoved. The only thing that compelled me to buy this album is reading my girl Dara’s post, Fake-Deep Thoughts on Jazmine Sullivan’s “Mascara”. The writing about the song intrigued me and I listened to the track embedded in the post 2 to 3 times. Then I pulled out my iPhone, went to iTunes, and Reality Show was procured. I listened to the album from beginning to end 2 or 3 times before leaving work.
Now let it be known that I don’t claim to be a music fanatic or snob or some one who is particular adept at constructing a critical review. I like what I like. I don’t like what I don’t like.
That said, this album is dope as fuck. The vocals are beautiful and soulful, the beats and melodies are alluring and mesmerizing. Many of the lyrics and themes are quite funny and playful, but serious at the same time. The album brilliantly weaves together a bunch of different sounds, styles, and vibes that really appeals to me. R&B hasn’t sounded this good in a long time.
I can listen to this album in any mood, doing just about any task (except run – I need hood classics to get me through mad miles). It’s hard to pick a favorite song. They’re almost all my favorites!! So instead, I’ll list out each track and highlight my favorite gems from each one…
1. Dumb (feat. Meek Mill)
Now if my tears don’t mean nothing, don’t insult me with lies
And if you won’t ever change, please stop wasting my time
Cuz if you wanna go out and be single, go ‘head, I told you I won’t beg
Cuz I know you gon miss me, so if you leave you must be [dumb]
**The hilarity but honesty of this song is so good!
Yeah my hair and my ass fake, but so what?
I get my rent paid wit it
And my tits give me trips to places I can’t pronounce right
He said he’d keep it comin if I keep my body tight
Girl, don’t be mad cuz while you’re cookin dinner for yo broke nigga
You could be in the gym workin on ya figure like me
So, don’t I deserve to be privileged? Don’t I deserve to get the very best?
Cuz it ain’t easy bein this fine all the time
Cuz if it was then we all could do it, but we can’t now no
So, bitch don’t kill my vibe, don’t be mad cuz you coach class and I’m in that G5
Beautiful girls run the whole world, that’s why I gotta stay on
3. Brand New
If I had a dime for every nigga with a rap dream
And all the girls that be ridin workin two jobs
But her boy stays at home making mixtapes
With a “don’t disturb” on the doorknob
But I ain’t gon call him, cuz I been drinkin
But I’m gettin madder cuz this liquor got me thinkin
And now I’m dialin your phone, cuz we both know that I deserve the throne
This ain’t fair, who was there? Who was lovin you?
4. Silver Lining
So if I’m looking up don’t mind me
But I can’t be, I just can’t be, I can’t be down no more
And if you don’t know where to find me
I’m out looking, I’m looking for the silver lining, the silver lining
And I don’t know where, but I’m hoping I’ll find it
Cause when you love your man, you’ll do anything they need, good damn
When you love your man, it’s hard but you make it look easy
Bang bang, we be in the ‘lac out back
Bang bang, I be in the back countin stacks
Bang bang, every king need a queen
So I fight for my nigga, take a life for my nigga
6. Let It Burn
Feel it creepin’ in your heart, ooh baby can you feel it tearing you apart?
That’s right that’s love, when it comes, you never wanna give it up
I know it’s scary, cuz someone always gets hurt when you’re caring
And I felt that way too, but ready or not it’s coming for you
When he calls your name and you just gotta have it
Love me all the wrong ways, my bad habit
Hold me close, while you take me away
I just wanna scream your name
8. Forever Don’t Last
**So. Real. And sad.
And I tried to believe that we could make it
But trying don’t work, so I just have to face that
Forever doesn’t last too long these days
9. Stupid Girl
Men roam the world, looking for us
Someone they can fuck around with, make us really trust them
And we never have a clue, we never see it comin’
Trainwreck headed for us, but we never think of runnin’
**I love the disco vibe. And the song’s sentiment is so real.
But you don’t pay me no attention Stanley, I’m needing your attention baby
Just show me some appreciation, or maybe take a bitch to dinner
I don’t know why I waste my time
When you don’t care how hard I try to make you smile
If you ain’t careful you gone lose a good thing
11. Masterpiece (Mona Lisa)
**This could easily be a favorite – the message of self-love resonates so loudly with me.
As the sun shines on all of my glory
My flaws don’t look so bad at all
What was I so afraid of?
Who is this I’ve tried so long to fight?
Filling my head with lies that I’m not good enough
Then I heard something in my ear tell I’m perfect
Now that I know the truth time to show and prove
12. If You Dare
Things could be better than the way that you’re livin
Open your eyes cuz you don’t know what you’re missin
You’re in the dark but you could be glistenin
Stop thinkin small when you could have it all
You’re amazing, so am I, let’s dress up fancy and drink wine
Let’s go crazy, don’t be scared
Cuz we can conquer the world, cuz we can conquer the world if you dare
These last 2 songs SLAY!!! These songs were created to be my inspiration and anthems! All the thanks to Jazmine for creating this album that has been giving the synapses in my auditory cortex and limbic system something to fire about (read: “given me life”) and hella quotable lyrics to tweet. Well done, ma’am!
Have you listened to Reality Show? Have any thoughts on the album? Are there any albums out now that you’d recommend?
Daring to be a masterpiece,