Jaguar: R&B at its finest
Image Courtesy of NME
By Sergio Niblett-Morales
Sultry, smooth, and sleek. That is the best way to describe Victoria Monét’s ‘Jaguar’, the first of three parts (released in August) that will constitute her first studio album. Most widely known for her song-writing skills, and for working with widely known artists such as Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony, Monét takes the spotlight to great success.
The album itself has the recurring theme of sex and Monét’s exploration of her own sexuality through both her identity as a bisexual woman and her own experiences that she recalls. The opening track ‘Moment’, a smooth song with lush string arrangements, encourages her lover to take advantage of the moment that they have with her (‘This your motherfuckin’ moment’). ‘Moment’ lays the foundations for the rest of the album both sonically and lyrically, being successful in doing so.
This exploration of her sexuality takes various forms throughout the album with a consistency in both production and lyrical content that captivates the listener. Even the interludes, ‘Big Boss’ and ‘We Might Even Be Falling In Love’ are immediately enticing with Monét wanting to indulge her lover in ‘Big Boss’ and realising that they are falling in love later in the album with ‘We Might Even Be Falling In Love’. Both are smooth, mid-tempo tracks that are relatively toned-down production-wise, with a ticking sound in ‘Big Boss’ and horns in ‘We Might Even Be Falling In Love’, but both work well with Monét’s rich vocals.
Another of the album’s strengths is Monét’s witty and playful song-writing which does not falter at all throughout the entire album. ‘Dive’ exemplifies this witty lyricism, playing with the double entendre of wanting to dive into deeper conversations with her lover but simultaneously referring to their sexual behaviour. She does this explicitly with the lyrical content (‘I wanna see what your head game like’) and also with the moaning sounds in the background of the track. Production-wise, the song is laid back with the bridge, consisting of strings and horns, being a particular highlight that does not overwhelm the song, but keeps it smooth and sensual.
‘Ass Like That’, which details Monét’s fitness regime, also uses these double entendres with Jim being substituted for ‘gym’ for example. They are consistently fun and engaging to listen to and the instrumentation also does not falter in the song. The trumpet in the outro gives a hint of jazz, which is one of the highlights of the song production-wise.
Alongside the song writing, the production of the tracks is also top-notch, with all of the tracks sounding distinguishable yet cohesive. ‘Experience’, a disco-inspired dance track featuring Khalid and SG Lewis, is one of the strongest tracks on the album with Monét questioning the intentions of her lover and her hope that they will change once they experience love with her.
The title track, ‘Jaguar’, is the strongest track on the album with Monét applying the themes of sexuality and sensuality to represent herself as a Jaguar. The track does not falter in any category, with a particular highlight being the first minute. Monét’s mesmerising vocals are set against minimal production at first which is an experience of levitation. The track then picks up tempo-wise about a minute in, with horns being used through the majority of the latter half of the song. Lyrically, the song is also just as sleek and sensual as the rest of the album, with Monét’s breathy vocals repeating ‘Supersonic pussycat/just like a Jaguar silky black/So let me climb your wood like that/You got nine times to come hit that’.
One of the songs that has been listened to the least is ‘Go There With You’, a mid-tempo track with some soft rock flourishes with the use of a guitar, sonically varying from the consistent tone set by the other tracks in the album. This is not to say, however, that the song is not worth listening to, Monét’s clever lyricism is just as strong here as on the other tracks. The strongest example is her double entendre when referencing ‘layaways’ (‘All I wanna do is lay away’).
‘Touch Me’, another slow mid-tempo track, is one of the stronger tracks in the album. It recalls a sexual encounter that Monét has, believed to be with fellow artist Kehlani, in a car. A fun narrative is built within the song, such as with references to her lover’s tattoos, that help to distinguish it from the other tracks on the album. Vocally, the layered harmonies throughout the song are beautiful, adding to the sensuality that is exuded through the track. As an album closer, it perfectly encapsulates the theme of sex that binds the tracks together.
Overall, ‘Jaguar’ is an excellent first part of Victoria Monét’s first studio album, from the stellar production to the witty song writing and Monét’s consistently beautiful vocals. For lovers of R&B, or even more casual listeners, this is not an album to be missed.
My top tracks:
3. Touch Me