Jazmine Sullivan is casually devastating on “Lost One,” her first new single in over two years, which she released Thursday at midnight.
“Lost One” is a parched ballad, mostly just a guitar lick and Sullivan’s crystalline vocals. While the musical bed is unerringly calm, the lyrics are bracing, delivered from the perspective of someone sifting through the emotional wreckage of a broken relationship. “Sometimes it’s too late to make amends,” Sullivan sings. “There is one thing I need for you to know/Just don’t have too much fun without me.”
As the song’s narrator continues down this path, probing a still-raw wound, harsh self-recrimination starts to creep into her lyrics. “Try not to love no one,” Sullivan requests. “I know that that’s too much to ask/I know that I’m a selfish bitch.” Moments later, she reels off a series of dizzying, dazzling harmonies.
Sullivan is a virtuosic vocalist and gifted songwriter who works at her own pace. She took five years between her sophomore album, 2010’s Love Me Back, and the 2015 follow-up Reality Show. It’s been another five years since then with no new album in sight. During that period, Sullivan has landed cuts on other singers’ albums — penning several tracks on Mary J. Blige’s 2017’s Strength of a Woman — and made the occasional guest appearance, contributing to albums from Frank Ocean and Niia.
Sullivan’s last single was 2017’s “Insecure,” a duet with her label-mate Bryson Tiller that appeared on the soundtrack to the second season of Issa Rae’s popular HBO series. In 2019, Sullivan also appeared on songs by PJ Morton and Pentatonix.