In my previous blog posts about Frank Ocean, I spoke of Ocean’s attempt to save “R&B” by taking it in a totally new direction and giving it a subtle resurrection from the bland, repetitious state it has been in for a while. And I’ve also mentioned Canadian hit maker The Weeknd as a raw talent in the business of reviving the lost genre. Miguel is another artist who is moving the music in deeper territory with his eclectic twist on rhythm and blues.
With his first album, it may have been easy to write him off as just another R&B cat trying to make a name for himself. Besides a few love songs and clever hooks, All I Want Is You was not the most unique statement he could make in a business that is filled with tons of flavor, but not much meat. He even stated that the reason for his less than distinctive introduction onto the music scene had to do with his record label trying to change his image and paint him out to be just another bad boy of R&B. He slowly went through a changing process and we got a dose of that change on his subsequent mixtapes Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1.-3 in which he experimented with more futuristic sounds.
But, with his new album, Kaleidoscope Dream, (released today) he gives you the real deal. The authentic nature of his musical personality is revealed full fledged and he makes no apologies for the realness. From indie rock to reggae, pop and tons of electro soul, the album is full of colorful patterns. The songs deal with the ups and downs of love as well as about living life for the moment and he even gives us a glimpse into his moral ideals.
Miguel is a hopeless romantic; that much is clear from most of his music and the first single “Adorn” attests to his chivalrous character. “Adorn” is a sexy, mid tempo track filled with affectionate imagery of how much he cares for his woman. He released a shorter version of the song over the summer to overwhelming popularity, and now it is currently number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop songs.
But don”t let his smooth taste of sincerity fool you; there is also a hefty sum of lust mixed into his lyricism, and he takes it to new heights. His falsetto is dangerously sparked on the soft rock seduction “Use me” where he teaches his lover how to satisfy him, and on the slow, electric guitar groove, “Do You” he compares love to a drug induced state of mind.
The only song on the album where Miguel drops the ball is on the club joint “How Many Drinks” which sounds as if it would have been better suited on a T-Pain or The Dream album as they are more suited to mixing the hip hop bravado with R&B flavor. Now the dark, mystical tune tune “Where’s the Fun in Forever” which celebrates the idea of living for the moment is more Miguel’s style and fits his comfort zone, which is more so suited toward indie rock rather than hip hop.
People have compared him to R&B rock star Prince because of his unique mixture of the genres. There are not many artists out today who resemble the brilliance of Prince, but on this album, Miguel proves that he could one day hold a candle to the music legend.
“I want to change urban radio. “I want to change the sound of what’s expected from R&B songs on the radio, and I really intend on doing that — especially with this next single.”— Miguel