Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

Victoria Monét – On My Mama

Your Fun Pop Factoid Of The Day: the uncredited vocals on will.i.am’s “I Got It From My Mama” are by Kat Graham.


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Nortey Dowuona: I TOUCHED A JAGUAR’S SWAG AND NOW I HAVE A TAIL: STORYTIME
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Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: The backstory for Victoria Monét’s “On My Mama” may overpower the song one day: sat in the studio during COVID, battling postpartum depression, singing affirmations that she didn’t yet believe. It’s powerful, and now that it’s a hit, it’s the type of tale that pastors will add extra sizzle to, knowing it’ll ring the congregation’s bells. And yet, the song is slinkier and more pared-down than the built-in uplift would have you believe. Cheekier, too, zapped with tossed-off gags that are Monét’s secret weapon: I always giggle at “[I] might be too fine to hit it from behi-yi-yi-yind“. Ribald and heartwarming — quite a combination.
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Joshua Minsoo Kim: The bassline’s two-note filigrees are self-assured in their minimalist swerve — effortless cool without lifting much more than a finger. “On My Mama” operates in this reserved mode for its entire runtime, capturing the righteous act of feeling yourself via Chalie Boy’s “I Look Good.” Ironically, the hook sounds constrained in this new context, trapped inside the hallowed gloss of triumphant brass. It’s less thrilling when the instrumentation telegraphs that — why let anything else explain that you’re good enough? Still, this sleeked out take on Southern-rap braggadocio does find a moment of comparable excellence when Monét utters “sex game go stuUUupid.” It isn’t playful or horny, just domineering and cocksure; she doesn’t sing that line for anyone but herself.
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Ian Mathers: Monét weaves so effortlessly and precisely among all the little bass pushes and gently peaking horns that it’d be easy to overlook how crucial her performance is here. But it is, and she nails the hell out of it. She rightfully mentions being deep in her bag, but this whole thing is also almost impossibly in several different kinds of pocket at once.
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Oliver Maier: Professional, fairly tedious, sounding so built for Tiny Desk that I’m shocked it hasn’t happened yet. This would really benefit from some oomph, or at least some hi-hats.
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Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The bass doesn’t slap quite as hard as I want it to. But really, that’s the only note I have here — Ms. Monét is so self-assured here on this slab of funk, stringing together one-liners that lesser artists would be lucky to get one of like she’s got an infinite supply. I always want extended versions of pop songs, but I especially want one here.
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Alfred Soto: Like a suite in a four-star hotel, everything’s where it’s supposed to be: the horn section, the bass line, and Victoria Monét’s polished vocal. From Jamila Woods recording her own Avalon and Corinne Bailey Rae her own Sign ‘o the Times on one disc to K Michelle reveling in tradition, 2023 was a wonderful year for female R&B artists: they sing their bodies eclectic. “I think we deserve it, right?” Monét asks rhetorically.
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Leah Isobel: “I just wanna live in a fantasy,” Monét sings, her voice burnished gold. “I think we deserve it, right?” This song — by design — makes me remember 2000s R&B and pop, the era of Ciara and “Do It To It” and Usher’s imperial phase, when the whole industry’s center of gravity briefly shifted to Atlanta. The welding of hip-hop’s stance and production with pop’s melody created what felt, at the time, like the most impossibly cool music I had ever heard, both celebratory and strong. That trend passed, as all pop music trends do; as I left childhood, pop music became more nihilistically post-human. I like that stuff, too. But “On My Mama” triggers a specific memory button in which I remember a version of the world in which it seemed like people could keep pace, if you were tough enough. Monét brings a soft allure to that fantasy: it could be good. It could still be good.
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David Moore: There’s been a scourge of millennial hip-hop worship that somehow takes some of the most joyous music ever produced and reduces it to the great gray blob of content, just execrable nostalgia-mining of the lowest order for almost every major rap and R&B hit between c. 2002 and 2007, so how refreshing is it to hear a pitch-perfect post-Aaliyah minimal R&B performance with the period-appropriate accoutrement to match: is that a real horn section? Chopped and screwed ad-libs? Oh my god, are those punchlines?? “I’m so deep in my bag like a grandma with a peppermint / they say ooh she smell good, that’s because I’m heaven scent.” Perfect.
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Wayne Weizhen Zhang: “On My Mama” is sexy, swaggering, and most importantly, fun. Victoria Monét’s glow-up from Ariana Grande sidekick to Grammy Award nominee is the exact type of thing everyone should have predicted on their 2023 bingo card. Extra point for making me smile with “I’m so deep in my bag/Like a grandma with a peppermint.”
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Kayla Beardslee: “I’m so deep in my bag, like a grandma with a peppermint / They say, ‘Oh she smell good,’ that’s just ’cause I’m heaven-scent” isn’t actually the lyric of the year… or is it??
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Katherine St Asaph: Cocaine-decor sumptuous to an almost surreal extent. Wish Monét hadn’t crammed all her good lines into the second verse, though.
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Brad Shoup: Starts off luxe and slinky, a getting-ready ode that annexes the club before she walks through the door, similar to Kelly Rowland’s “Like This”. After the first chorus, she’s thoroughly feeling herself, and the jokes and vocal elasticism put her in Post Malone territory. Not a bad thing! Peak Posty would’ve avoided the triumphant “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” horns (his loss), but probably wouldn’t have bothered sampling Chalie Boy after a perfectly fine interpolation. Feels like padding.
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Alex Ostroff: Any song with even a passing resemblance to “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” is always going to hit almost every pleasure centre in my brain.
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Michelle Myers: Jaguar II is a phenomenal album, but I’m hard-pressed to pick a single track that demonstrates how sophisticated and immersive this record is when experienced in full. It’s definitely not “On My Mama.”
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Rachel Saywitz: “On My Mama” isn’t Victoria Monét’s best single, but it’s unsurprising that it’s the one that’s garnered the most critical and commercial acclaim. There’s a homely essence to its meandering horn lines and grounding low rumbles, like the human-shaped indent on your grandparents’ old leather couch that looks like it’s been there forever. Here, Monét eschews her honeyed voice to command in a deeper, wiser tone, as if relaying knowledge from her elders onto a new generation, and I’d absolutely love it if I didn’t already know that Monét is capable of more wondrous and sexy R&B. And yet, listening to “On My Mama” still sounds like a bit of a triumph. The song, along with its success, seems like a testament to all the work Monét has put in to get to this moment: you can hear, for example, the trademarks of her writing that are more widely known in the voices of others, such in the Ariana-like playful tilt of its second verse. For those fans who’ve been with her for years, it’s hard not to think of “On My Mama” as anything other than a long-anticipated greeting — a toasty home on a chilly day, a sweet smile and open arms, the words, “welcome home.”
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Aaron Bergstrom: Man, to tell the truuuuth, my opinion is irrelevant.
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Reader average: [8.33] (3 votes)

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2 Responses to “Victoria Monét – On My Mama”

  1. omg I missed Wayne and I accidentally syncing up our blurbs so much

  2. i swear it’s never on purpose

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