Victoria Monet - Jaguar II (Brown Vinyl)

Regular price $ 34.99

When Victoria Monét released Jaguar in 2020, she intended the EP to function as the first part of a trilogy taken altogether as her debut album. She changed course three years later with Jaguar II, a concluding LP sequel she considers the EP's "older sister." It's without doubt a more rounded display of Monét's writing and vocal talents, and at the same time underscores her high-wattage synergy with chief production associate D'Mile. Jaguar II nudges contemporary R&B forward as it mixes inspirations spanning continents and generations. "Party Girls" and "Cadillac (A Pimp's Anthem)" radiate carefree pleasure and nonchalant swagger with a combination of early-'70s cinematic soul and dub. The first of the two includes a dancehall section featuring the duly energizing presence of genre legend Buju Banton, a major figure in Monét's musical upbringing. Jaguar contained an all-too-brief interlude with echoes of peak Earth, Wind & Fire, another inspiration. The group is even more of a factor this time, namechecked by Lucky Daye, Monét's well-matched duet partner on the stoned opener "Smoke," while "Hollywood," a wistful and resigned reflection on fame, is augmented by the voice of Philip Bailey and the bass of EW&F partner Verdine White. The elements more subtly inform the song that follows, "Good Bye," a slow exhalation -- with strings, brass, and a group-harmony chorus neatly laid atop a sailing rhythm -- that feels like a lost Faces-era gem co-written by Brenda Russell and David Foster. Just as salient is that Monét always comes across as an everywoman at heart, no matter how fantastical or personal she gets, followed closely by her ability to sound authoritative without increasing the volume or toughness of her dulcet voice. Those notions are backed up strongest with "On My Mama," slinking and triumphant Southern funk with more horns and a punctuating sample from Chalie Boy's 2009 hit "I Look Good." Monét's wordplay is full of humor and stated as if she's just presenting facts off the dome: "I'm so deep in my bag/Like a grandma with a peppermint/They say, 'Ooh, she smell good'/That' just 'cause I'm heaven-sent." Wittier yet is "Stop (Askin' Me 4Shyt)," a confrontation that takes some unexpected sonic turns and delivers on its title.

Smoke 3:07
Smoke (Reprise) 1:37
Party Girls 4:00
Alright 2:53
Cadillac (A Pimp's Anthem) 3:02
How Does It Make You Feel 3:36
On My Mama 3:04
I'm The One 3:29
Stop (Askin' Me 4Shyt) 2:51
Hollywood 3:37
Good Bye 4:10