The name of this album is actually “Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales,” but I couldn’t resist the opportunity. The album is a deluxe edition of the most recent Jazmine Sullivan album “Heux Tales,” which came out at the very beginning of 2021. In a year where a lot of albums just ran right through me, “Heaux Tales” was one of the few that grew on me across 2021. Led by the R&B hit “Pick Up of Your Feelings” and built around a compelling concept, the album was killer. The concept is executed effortlessly without sacrificing the quality of a single song. I was pleasantly surprised to see it topping more than one publication’s top albums of the year, and even more pleasantly surprised to see it get such strong radio play for a independent release.
Around a year later, Sullivan has come out with a deluxe edition. So-called “Deluxe Editions” published incredibly soon after an album’s publications for streaming optimization are a trend that has worn thin incredibly fast. Lil Uzi Vert, who started the trend, did alright by effectively releasing a double album, but since then I’ve started instinctually tuning these out. I’m glad I broke that rule for Sullivan, because “Mo’ Tales” is an excellent exception to the rule.
The main album is built off of interwoven songs with testimonials from various women talking frankly about their sex lives. The extended edition is more rigid, with each new track having exactly one spoken section that reflects the topic of the song quite directly. This makes a direct front to back listen a little tiring since around a third of the new runtime is spoken word, which is presumably part of why the tracks were cut. The new songs are worth it though, each one feels like it was cut from the full album not because of its quality, but because it would interrupt the flow of the album. Seeing the incredible restraint Jazmine Sullivan used when building the track list really does inspire a new appreciation for the strength of the main album, which is an incredible thing for a deluxe edition to do.
Some songs were clearly cut for thematic clarity. While the song is a nice counterpoint in the extended edition, including “A Breux’s Tale” (I did not change that one, that’s the actual name of the song) and the intentionally callous song from Sullivan that accompanies it on the main album would have distracted from the overall progression. Anderson Paak’s brief feature was all the counterpoint needed on the original album. Same goes for songs like “Tragic,” which while fine in this context, wouldn’t have worked out as well on the main album.
If you listened to “Heaux Tales” and haven’t really returned to it, this deluxe edition is an excellent excuse to give it another listen. And if you’re entirely unfamiliar with Jazmine Sullivan, give the main album a shot, it’s an album that really appeals to everyone.