Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Jazmine Sullivan – In Love With Another Man

We still can’t agree about her…


Anthony Miccio: If you’re gonna dump me for another guy, the least you could do is let me be the melodramatic basket case.

Michaelangelo Matos: Near-a cappella showstopper. Song’s not all that great, though, and while I appreciate her relative restraint with the climax, it’s still not my favorite mode for anyone.

Chuck Eddy: There’s no denying the richness of her voice, and her respect for the verities of her genre, so maybe the problem is just material; or maybe it’s that her reverence always comes off like caution. This gets a nice empty room feel, and when the choir enters, you realize the room might be a church rather than a museum. But Jazmine really needs some Pips to balance out her Gladys.

Anthony Easton: Does not have the vocal chops to engage in this kind of emotional theatre, and the neo-soul nostalgia for a MoTown that never was has lost its novelty, and that novelty has only rarely been replaced with something resembling emotional depth. Still waiting for Jill Scott to quit acting, and for Ms Hill to return from wherever she is; in the meantime, this will kinda sorta do, but I damn well know it’s an emergency measure.

Martin Skidmore: Few people have tapped into my deep love for vintage soul lately better than she has – a rare new singer you could timewarp into a ’60s show with Irma Thomas and Mavis Staples, say, without it being ridiculous. This single is very sparse and simple musically most of the way (though it does support the drama well at key moments), which means it relies heavily on her voice, which is wonderful, building to a desperate pitch by well-judged stages, bar a bit too much twiddly melisma hear and there. Probably one of my favourite vocal performances of recent years, to place alongside (stylistically and in quality) Christina Aguilera’s “The Voice Within” or “Mercy On Me”. Beautiful and moving.

Al Shipley: In the context of her album, this felt more like a snoozy prelude to “Switch”, a much lighter song about the same topic. Taken by itself, it really collapses under the weight of its own completely uncompelling drama.

Andrew Brennan: This is actually quite beautiful — it comes close to sounding sappy and overwrought, but it manages to remain sincere. The piano, backing vocal and organ all complement Jazmine’s voice quite nicely. And she’s from Philly, which has to be worth an extra point at least.

Peter Parrish: After constructing a semi-touching confessional about the emotional agony this unpreventable romantic decision is causing all parties, the climax manages to completely balls it up. As the frugal piano chords are overwhelmed by a vocal rush about luuurrruurryyuuurrvvveeheeyyyheyy, Jazmine is almost falling over herself to admit that “When I’m with him / ain’t nobody else like it”. So, essentially, the main message we’re taking home from this brush-off is “my new guy rules, woohoo!” Sad times a-comin’ for anybody who receives a “Re: our relationship” email with a link to this video inside.

Alex Macpherson: Around this time last year, I heard “In Love With Another Man” for the first time in this Youtube clip, Jazmine performing the song casually for the staff of 17. It made me stop dead in my tracks, and it continues to do just that even when set to a drawn-out “mini-film”. Sullivan delivers a bravura performance in her big musical setpiece; she begins careful, tentative and unsure, but as the song progresses gradually gives in, bit by bit and detail by detail, to her rising emotions. The music crescendoes with her, and the impassioned climax is riveting. Differentiating between “real soul” and “fake soul” is a minefield; but what is absolutely certain, based on just this song, is that Jazmine Sullivan possesses a talent that the likes of Adele, Duffy and Pixie Lott can only dream of.

Rodney J. Greene: I’m sure my emotional attachment to this song would skyrocket if I had any similar experience in my life, but I don’t, and can only admire the performance and the craft.

Martin Kavka: I want to object to this — Jazmine has no idea why she’s in love with another man, and part of me just wants to tell her that she shouldn’t be in love with anyone until she figures out what she wants in life. But I’m powerless against her voice and the sparseness of the production (just piano, strings, backing vox, and three timpani rolls). This just might be my favorite R&B song of all time. Can I give it an 11? [Editor’s note: Jazmine Sullivan has at no point in her career been a member of The Delgados]

3 Responses to “Jazmine Sullivan – In Love With Another Man”

  1. Anybody who sends a “Re: our relationship” email with a link to this video is missing the point of this song, which is that the irresponsible dumper — the one who has no good reasons to dump, knows this, and dumps anyway — has to acknowledge all this, at length, in the I’m-ending-this talk.

    Hilarious editor’s note, btw.

  2. “the neo-soul nostalgia for a MoTown that never was has lost its novelty”

    Huh? I’m pretty sure that at most about 5% of what has been called neo-soul has ever tried to sound like Motown, and this isn’t in that 5%.

  3. Good voice, beautiful prodcution… but it’s just not that good a soul song, lyrically or musically.