Singer-songwriter Victoria Monet released part one of her debut studio album “Jaguar,” and she’s ready for her turn in the spotlight.
Few may recognize Monet’s name, but many will know her sound if they have listened to R&B and pop acts from the past five years. Her list of writing credits includes Nas, Fifth Harmony, Chloe x Halle and Ariana Grande.
However, it was Monet’s writing credits for Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next” and “7 Rings” that ignited Monet’s career trajectory. Her single with Grande, “Monopoly,” later became Monet’s first entry on the Billboard Hot 100.
While most artists stray from dividing their debut album into multiple releases, the unconventional release style is not new to Monet. Her previous extended plays “Nightmares & Lullabies” and “Life After Love” were both released in separate parts.
At 25 minutes and nine songs, the project’s brevity can potentially become a weak point. Any errors in an album so short would only be magnified further and, thus, bring the work of art down with it.
Luckily, Monet makes no mistakes here. “Jaguar” is a successful blend of R&B and funk with neo-soul and disco elements thrown in between the trakcs.
It is worth noting that the album’s title relates to Monet’s experience. Like a jaguar, she is connected with her instincts as a modern woman. Her delivery on sexual tracks such as Moment” showcases an artist who is confident in her sexuality and isn’t afraid to express what she wants.
The song “Experience” is akin to other pop songs fused with funk, such as Dua Lipa’s “Electricity” with Mark Ronson and Diplo. Khalid’s appearance on this track doesn’t detract attention away from Monet, but rather their two voices blend together perfectly.
Monet’s work is serious, but there is plenty of room for fun in her art. “Ass Like That,” the album’s lead single, is focused on her butt and the gym routines she follows to gain it.
The lyrics “Met him about two months ago/Said his name was gym/And that he’d make me better than before” are charming, and the chorus is instantly catchy.
Other tracks such as “Dive” and “Jaguar” are well-constructed and feature smooth instrumentation that is made for both large clubs and intimate car rides with friends.
While Monet is experienced in working with artists behind the scene, it is clear she can hold her own. If the next part of “Jaguar” can maintain the dazzling production and confident lyrical delivery the first part produced, Monet will have a clear path to superstardom.