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Victoria Monét: Jaguar II review – a shimmering kaleidoscope

(RCA)
The Ariana Grande songwriter comes out of the shadows with an exploratory album of songs about sexuality and big dreams

Though Victoria Monét has written songs for the likes of Brandy and Ariana Grande, and has been releasing her own music since her debut EP Nightmares & Lullabies: Act 1 in 2014, she still exists somewhat in a cloud of obscurity. That’s often the case for successful songwriters transitioning into performing, but Monét won’t forsake quality in pursuit of notoriety. Her debut album is a kaleidoscopic collection of songs about sexuality, pride and big dreaming.

The combination of several genres – pop, R&B, dancehall, disco, funk – results in a shimmering sound that feels authentically exploratory. Lead single Party Girls delivers rich and sultry sonics, a singalong chorus – “Can’t forget about the party girls out lighting up the world” – and a supremely nostalgic feature from Buju Banton. You can almost taste the Prince influence on How Does It Make You Feel, while Hollywood (featuring Earth, Wind & Fire) is an aspirational soul ballad glistening with high notes and airy guitar riffs.

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