Monét hunts for stardom on ‘JAGUAR’

JAGUAR, Tribe Records

Powerful and mysterious, Victoria Monét embodies the jungle cat with charisma on the aptly titled JAGUAR. A small collection of 9 impressive tracks, the album is a slight showcase of Monét as she continues to grow into herself.

The R&B singer songwriter is no stranger to the industry. Backing one of the biggest albums of 2019 in thank u, next, its increasingly clear how deeply the artist influenced the latest sound of Ariana Grande – one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. Her name is credited on nearly every song on the record, pointing to her ability to encapsulate the vernacular and attitudes of a new generation.

JAGUAR is not much different. While a significant shift from the work on the aforementioned juggernaut of a pop album, the project exists in a similar lyrical playground. Like the animal she embodies, Monét stalks the line of surface pop and more meaningful messages of self-empowerment and confidence. It plays as an extended resume for an artist still waiting for her increasingly imminent day in the sun.

Opening with the previously released “Moment,” Monét declares herself as an up next A-lister. “So fuck a fantasy, this your motherfuckin’ moment,” she states. Both to the listener in herself, Monét instills a sense of confidence that immediately envelops the listener into the sultry funk of the record.

This sense of self-promotion continues on “Big Boss,” an smooth, silky interlude. It acts as a bridge perhaps the biggest standout on the album, “Dive.”

Similar to Wale and Rihanna’s “Bad,” the track’s production weaves the sound of a bed spring with classic funk in horns and drums. It slyly flips the script on the traditional R&B sex songs often put out by male performers. Monét is in complete control here, commanding her partner through a night in bed. The singer’s voice is immediately disarming on the track.

The crux of the album lays in its title track, “Jaguar.” The latest single off of the album, the track bridges the slower, more sensual R&B of the first half with the dance beats of the latter portion. More, it showcases some of the stickiest songwriting on the entire record, with Monét dissolving into her pop persona seamlessly. It paves the way for the fun collaboration with SG Lewis and Khalid in “Experience” and lead single “Ass Like That.”

The final two tracks continue the hot streak. With an album so slender, each song needs to have enough weight to standout. With JAGUAR, it’s evident Monét delicately strung together these songs to formulate the album’s world. “Go There With You” features the playful contemporary voice the singer penned on thank u, next. “We’re picking fights like its fortnite,” she asserts. Youthful and provocative, it’s a deep cut that bleeds gold.

Concluding the album is the sexually fluid “Touch Me.” Reminiscent of other R&B artists from Kehlani to SZA, the song is another smash. Describing the song in a discussion with Apple Music, Monét stated, “Instead of thinking about this song completing the project, I wanted it to be more of a pathway into part two for when the project completes itself as an album.” It’s the perfect “to be continued” title card, departing before overstaying its welcome.

The album is, well, a jaguar – light on its feet, quietly confident, and quick. At just 9 tracks, it’s a smooth shot of tequila. “Get to know me inside. If you love me, show me,” Monét pleads in the album’s final moment. It’s this call to action to everyone listening that she leaves listeners with.

Victoria Monet has declared her presence, and demands those supporting her to make it known.