Fearless (Jazmine Sullivan album)

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Fearless
Studio album by Jazmine Sullivan
Released September 23, 2008
Recorded 2007–2008
Genre R&B, soul, pop
Length 47:53
Label J, Arista
Producer Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Stargate, Lamb, Salaam Remi, Carvin & Ivan, Fistcuffs, Anthony Bell, Jack Splash
Jazmine Sullivan chronology
Fearless
(2008)
Love Me Back
(2010)
Alternative cover
International cover
Singles from Fearless
  1. "Need U Bad"
    Released: May 13, 2008
  2. "Bust Your Windows"
    Released: September 16, 2008
  3. "Lions, Tigers & Bears"
    Released: December 16, 2008
  4. "Dream Big"
    Released: April 14, 2009

Fearless is the debut album of American R&B recording artist Jazmine Sullivan, released September 23, 2008, on J Records. Production for the album took place during 2007 to 2008 and was handled by several record producers, including Missy Elliott, Stargate, Carvin & Ivan, Wyclef Jean, and Salaam Remi.

The album debuted at number six on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 65,000 copies in its first week. It also produced four singles that attained respectable charting on Billboard '​s Hot 100 chart. It Upon its release, Fearless received generally positive reviews from most music critics who complimented its production and Sullivan's vocals, comparing her to female R&B artists such as Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill. The album earned Sullivan seven Grammy Award nominations and has sold 517,000 copies in the United States.

Background[edit]

In a September 2008 interview with Pete Lewis of Blues & Soul, Sullivan disccused the album's title and lyrical themes, stating "I named the album  '​Fearless '​ because I'm just not afraid of ANYTHING right now. I'm young, I'm 22 years old... And I just feel that, if YOU embrace your uniqueness by not being afraid to take chances and being different, then everybody ELSE will! You know, I definitely did not wanna exclude ANYBODY! So, if you buy my record and think you're gonna get just a bunch of reggae beats or just a bunch of R&B beats, you'll be wrong! You're gonna get EVERYTHING! I mean, the genres can range from jazz, to gospel, to pop... Because that's who I AM! And, with me having been inspired by so much, I wanted everybody to SEE that diversity in me."[1]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "Need U Bad", was released on May 13, 2008, and its music video premiered in July 2008. The song reached number thirty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Bust Your Windows" was released as the second single from the album on September 16, 2008, and its music video premiered in October 2008. It reached number thirty-one on the Hot 100 and serves as Sullivan's most successful single. It also reached number four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, becoming her second top-ten hit on that chart. "Lions, Tigers & Bears" was released on December 16, 2008 as the album's third single. Its video premiered in January 2009. The song reached number seventy-four on the Hot 100 and number ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, becoming her third top-ten hit on that chart. "Dream Big" was released on February 9, 2009 as the UK's lead single and on April 14, 2009 as the fourth single from the album in the US. A Dream Big EP was also released through the UK iTunes on February 9, 2009. The song's music video premiered in April 2009.[2][3] It did not chart in the UK or the US.

"In Love with Another Man" was released as the album's promo single on August 24, 2009. The video was released in March 2009, five months before the single was released[citation needed]. The single reached number thirty-seven on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs but did not reach the Billboard Hot 100. "Switch!" was going to be released as the sixth single from the album on November 17, 2009, confirmed via Sullivan's Twitter account on November 9, 2009, but this release was later canceled. A music video was reportedly filmed in November 2009 but was never released.

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

Fearless entered at number six on the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 65,000 copies.[4] It fell to number 10 in its second week, selling 42,000 more copies.[5] The album also peaked at number one on Billboard '​s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[6] As of November 2010, Fearless has sold 517,000 copies in the United States.[7]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly (C+)[9]
The New York Times (favorable)[10]
NOW 4/5 stars[11]
Okayplayer (86/100)[12]
Q 4/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[14]
USA Today 3/4 stars[15]
Vibe (favorable)[16]
The Washington Post (favorable)[17]

The album received generally positive reviews from most music critics. Sullivan received many comparisons by critics to other well-known female R&B artists, such as Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys.[12][17][18][19][20] Allmusic writer Andy Kellman gave the album 4½ out of 5 stars and praised her performance, stating "There's a lot of range on display here, and there is just as much depth".[8] Vibe '​s Erika Ramirez praised Sullivan's singing and lyrical substance, writing "Sullivan's vocal perfection pilots her debut album... and boasts her self-penned lyrics which are filled with struggle and heartache, embodying every inch of the soul star she is".[16] In his consumer guide for MSN Music, critic Robert Christgau gave Fearless a rating of honorable mention ((3-star Honorable Mention)),[21] indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure."[22] NOW '​s Benjamin Boles commended Sullivan for her "strong voice" and the album's production, stating "she’s pulling from a pleasingly wide range of influences – dropping bits of doo-wop, roots reggae, Motown and hip-hop into the mix while maintaining a consistent feel".[11] Q gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote "[H]er voice merges Beyonce and Amy Winehouse and is backed by slick productions".[13] Houston Chronicle writer Joey Guerra wrote favorably of her songwriting and called the album "a collection brimming with attitude, edge and soul".[18] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine gave it 4 out of 5 stars and commended Sullivan for her lyrical honesty and musical range.[14] The Washington Post '​s Allison Stewart described Fearless as "a mix of awkward-but-novel devices (reggae beats, Daft Punk samples) and nakedly confessional songwriting" and called it "a snappy, intensely human debut".[17]

However, Entertainment Weekly '​s Simon Vozick-Levinson gave Fearless a C+ rating and described most of its music as "schmaltzy pop-&-B".[9] Giving the album 3 out of 5 stars, About.com's Mark Edward Nero viewed her vocals as "generic and lack emotion or urgency" on some songs, but ultimately wrote that "there are more hits than misses here".[23] Nero lauded Sullivan's vocal performance and compared her songwriting to that of R&B musician Ne-Yo, writing "due to both artists' talent for writing on-point, introspective lyrics. Like Ne-Yo, Jazmine has a knack for crafting intricate, deeply personal verses that make you feel at one with the singer. Even on the weaker songs on Fearless, the songwriting is still above par".[23] USA Today '​s Steve Jones gave the album 3 out of 4 stars and wrote that she "sings every word as if she means it".[15] MusicOMH writer Michael Cragg praised Sullivan's vocal range and themes on the album, writing "Sullivan has created a mature, engaging R&B album that doesn't rely solely on the usual tropes of sexuality, money and posturing. Instead, Fearless deals with real emotions sung in a way that convinces the listener she means every single word".[19] Okayplayer's Jeff Harvey called it "a well produced urban pop album" and wrote that Sullivan's voice "carries a subtle tenderness that adds intriguing nuance".[12] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote favorably of Sullivan's performance and wrote "Her sense of humor is her best asset. She doesn't have a huge, imposing voice, but she's versatile, dabbling in jazz and reggae phrasings with ease".[10]

Accolades[edit]

She earned five 2009 Grammy Award nominations for the album including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("Need U Bad"), Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("I'm in Love with Another Man"), Best R&B Song ("Bust Your Windows"), and Best Contemporary R&B Album. She was also nominated for Best New Artist. Vibe magazine named the album one of the Ten Best Albums of 2008.[24]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Writers Producers Time
1 "Bust Your Windows" Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi Salaam Remi 4:26
2 "Need U Bad" Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb, Taurian Osbourne, Nicholas Taylor Stanton, David Sinclair Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb 4:17
3 "My Foolish Heart" Jazmine Sullivan, Carvin Haggins, Ivan Barias, Edward Brigati, Felix Cavaliere Ivan Barias, Carvin Haggins 3:39
4 "Lions, Tigers & Bears" Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi Salaam Remi 4:11
5 "Call Me Guilty" Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi Salaam Remi 3:25
6 "One Night Stand" Jazmine Sullivan, Fisticuffs, Iman Jordan, Brian Warfield, Mac Robinson Fisticuffs 3:33
7 "After the Hurricane" Jazmine Sullivan, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen Stargate 3:58
8 "Dream Big" Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb, Taurian Osbourne, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Thomas Bangalter Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb 3:36
9 "Live a Lie" Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi Salaam Remi 3:16
10 "Fear" Jazmine Sullivan, Anne Dudley, Gary Langan, George M. Harry, Henry Cosby, David "Mr. Somebody" Pierre, Johnathon J. Jeczalik, Lulu Mae Hardaway, Paul Morley, Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Rose Moy, Trevor Horn Dirty Harry 3:54
11 "In Love with Another Man" Jazmine Sullivan, Anthony Bell Jazmine Sullivan, Anthony Bell 4:24
12 "Switch!" Jazmine Sullivan, Jack Splash, Ivy Hunter, William Stevenson Jack Splash 3:02

Bonus tracks[edit]

# Title Writers Producers Time
13 "Best of Me" (iTunes bonus track)[25] Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi Salaam Remi 2:47
14 "Need U Bad (Remix) (Feat. T.I.)" (International bonus track) Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb, Taurian Osbourne, Nicholas Taylor Stanton, David Sinclair Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb 4:25
15 "Dream Big (StoneBridge Club Remix)" (International bonus track) Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb, Taurian Osbourne, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Thomas Bangalter Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb 6:48
16 "Need U Bad (Video)" (Japan bonus track) Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb, Taurian Osbourne, Nicholas Taylor Stanton, David Sinclair Missy Elliott, Cainon Lamb 4:17
17 "Bust Your Windows (Video)" (Japan bonus track) Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi, Deandre Way Salaam Remi 4:10

Sample credits[edit]

  • "Bust Your Windows" uses a sample from Salaam Remi's "Bad Man Waltz" and interpolates a lyric from Soulja Boy Tell Em's "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"
  • "Need U Bad" uses a sample from Nicolas Taylor Stanton's "Higher Meditation Riddim Version", and Tapper Zukie's "Papa Big Shirt"
  • "My Foolish Heart" uses a sample from Willie Mitchell's "Groovin'"
  • "Lions, Tigers and Bears" uses a sample from Salaam Remi's "Sheila's Playground"
  • "Call Me Guilty" uses a sample from Salaam Remi's "Police Theme"
  • "Dream Big" uses a sample from Daft Punk's "Veridis Quo"
  • "Live A Lie" uses a sample from Salaam Remi's "The Truth"
  • "Fear" samples Art of Noise's "Beat Box" and interpolates elements from Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her"
  • "Switch" uses a sample from Ivy Hunter & William Stevenson "Your Cheating Ways" performed by the Marvelettes

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Fearless adapted from Allmusic.[26]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008–2009) Peak
position
French Albums Chart[27] 95
Greek Albums Chart[28] 38
US Billboard 200[4] 6
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[6] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewis, Pete. Jazmine Sullivan Clear for Take Off. Blues & Soul. Retrieved on 2010-06-11.
  2. ^ "iTunes - Music - Dream Big - EP by Jazmine Sullivan". Itunes.apple.com. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b Harris, Chris. Metallica Are #1 For Third Week In A Row, As Death Magnetic Nears Million-Sold Mark. MTV. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  5. ^ Hasty, Katie. T.I. Debuts Big Atop Billboard 200, Hot 100. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  6. ^ a b Billboard Charts: Fearless. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  7. ^ Jazmine Sullivan to Receive Billboard's Rising Star Award for Women in Music (November 12, 2010). Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  8. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. Review: Fearless. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-28.
  9. ^ a b Vozick-Levinson, Simon. Review: Fearless. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  10. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon. Review: Fearless. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  11. ^ a b Boles, Benjamin. Review: Fearless. Now. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  12. ^ a b c Harvey, Jeff. Review: Fearless. Okayplayer. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  13. ^ a b Columnist. "Review: Fearless". Q: 107.
  14. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal. Review: Fearless. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  15. ^ a b Jones, Steve. Review: Fearless. USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  16. ^ a b Ramirez, Erika. Review: Fearless. Vibe. Retrieved on 2009-08-27.
  17. ^ a b c Stewart, Allison. "Review: Fearless". The Washington Post: C.5. September 23, 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-08-27.
  18. ^ a b Guerra, Joey. Review: Fearless. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  19. ^ a b Cragg, Michael. Review: Fearless. MusicOMH. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  20. ^ Columnist. Breaking: Jazmine Sullivan. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Review: Fearless". MSN Music: January 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-08-27.
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert. CG 90s: Key to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  23. ^ a b Nero, Mark Edward. Review: Fearless. About.com. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  24. ^ Cummings, Jozen. The Ten Best Albums of 2008: 808s & Heartbreak. Vibe. Accessed April 13, 2009.
  25. ^ "iTunes - Music - Fearless by Jazmine Sullivan". Phobos.apple.com. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  26. ^ Credits: Fearless. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  27. ^ Le classement des Albums Nouveautés (21.03.2009). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  28. ^ Greek Albums Chart (29.02.2009). IFPI. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.

External links[edit]