The project speaks to her love for the trashy, soapy "unscripted drama" medium and the meaning of love, fidelity and fame (though not necessarily in that order). The hip-hop stomp of "Dumb," featuring Meek Mill, mines themes of disloyalty while demonstrating her songwriting skills. "Brand New" borrows the swag to Nicki Minaj-esque hip-hop and "Silver Lining" rides a swing beat with introspective, aspirational lyrics, while the grimy vibe of "#HoodLove" feels fresh even given its oft-used ride-or-die theme: "That HoodLove is that good love."
"Let It Burn" leverages the After 7/Babyface late '80s slow-burner "Ready or Not" and updates it to showcase Sullivan's vocal versatility and modern sensibilities; "Veins" features her songwriting prowess and ability to deliver an ethereal, moody the Weekend-esque sound as she explores the addictive qualities of insatiable love: "The writing's on the wall/ But I can't see the word." The clear album standouts are "Mascara" and "Forever Don't Last," the latter of which is a jazzy torch song simmering with vibrant acoustics and transcendent vocals.
The overall proceedings carry a multilayered aura of forceful restraint — production is handled by vets Anthony Bell, Salaam Remi and Key Wane — as Sullivan plays with the Reality Show theme to explore themes of authenticity from many angles: love, life, pain and all points in between. With Reality Show, Sullivan delivers an R&B album that feels like how R&B used to sound circa late 90's/early 2000 while still coming off as forward-looking. (Sony)