R&B powerhouse Victoria Monét has just released the first act of her debut album, “Jaguar,” which is slated to be released in three acts. Monét has been in the industry for a minute, having written numerous songs for big names like Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony, and now her impeccable artistry is finally being brought to fruition on a mainstream stage. She worked with D’Mile on production, who has produced for Rihanna, Janet Jackson, and Mary J. Blige, and the result is a stunning body of work that is fulfilling enough to stand on its own, let alone in three parts.
The two promotional singles “Dive” and “Moment” are sultry ear candy with extravagant string quartets, a light snare and airy mezzo-soprano vocals. A majority of this album shows Monét unapologetically celebrating her sexual agency as well. “Dive” is an ode to female pleasure through oral sex, and it strikes a perfect balance between casually sensual and raunchy.
The title track, “Jaguar” shows Monét likening her body to the silkiness and smooth texture of the Latin American panther. The track has extremely sleek production with a vocoder refrain referencing a pussycat’s nine lives as a sexual innuendo (“You got nine times to come hit that”), with extravagant horns and string instrumentals.
“Ass Like That,” is another massive highlight. The bass line is so infectious, that listeners could develop an addiction to it. “Go There with You” shows Monét peeling back her layers and showing her vulnerable side in the midst of a lovers’ quarrel (“Out of all of the things we could do/I’d rather not throw off the mood”) over glitchy guitar riffs, hi-hats and a high-frequency guitar solo.
“Experience” with Khalid and S.G. Lewis, is an excellent synthetic and danceable track, which is incredibly refreshing for a genre like R&B which is often more slow and melancholy. A big takeaway from this album is how much it shows Monét’s dedication to railing against being boxed in or being looked at as one-dimensional, which happens to women way too often in the music industry.
“I wanted to be strong enough to talk about my own body the way men do in many rap songs. I reserve and deserve the right to talk about it, with or without the world’s approval, because they never asked for mine. They never ask for ours,” Monét stated in an interview with Apple Music.
The final track, “Touch Me,” is a sweet and sensual ballad dedicated to a woman she used to be in love with. Fans speculate that the subject of the song is fellow R&B singer, Kehlani. In an interview with the Gay Times Monét confessed, “I literally fell in love with a girl… And I had a boyfriend at the time, and then we broke up. But this woman ended up getting pregnant because she had a boyfriend in a polyamorous relationship,” which was around late 2018, the same time that Kehlani announced her pregnancy. The song is a gorgeous and smooth queer ballad that we don’t often see in the rap and R&B circles, so it was incredibly refreshing to hear Monét share her story in a song.
Victoria Monét’s versatility and ability to bring her creative visions to fruition in such a cohesive way is a skill not afforded to many artists. In just nine songs (perhaps another nod to nine lives?) she did what most artists could not achieve with twenty. The jazzy blues production throughout the album is phenomenal and Monét’s creative genius is only beginning to emerge.