The sophomore album by American R&B artist Miguel follows on the back of major R&B (modern or PBR&B) successes such as 2011’s House of Balloons and 2012’s Channel Orange. The Weeknd predominantly occupied his tracks with sparse, hazy production and sexually orientated lyrics, whereas Ocean would employ a laidback, multiple genre production whilst highlighting lyricism and vocals. Miguel then, falls somewhere in between. With amazing vocal ability, but backing that with strong, mixed-genre but generally downtempo production resulted in a very impressive and versatile record.
The opener is not only the album’s best track, but also one of the year’s best. The classic R&B styled “Adorn” has an incredible vocal by the young singer, and is matched by simply eloquent lyrics as he pleads plainly, “Let my love adorn you”. “Use Me” then shows us the more Weeknd influenced sound, and is a definite standout on the album. With the sparsest production and catchiest chorus present, whilst maybe not the most accessible track, will likely be the favourite of many. Following that is the excellent “Do You…” with its rather innocuous but blatant main hook “Do you like drugs?” Rather a wordplay saying he’ll ‘do her like drugs’ rather than the question itself, another solid vocal make this a highlight off the record.
“How Many Drinks?” has yet again, an amazing vocal, and another simple but well-lyricized from the very up-front Miguel, “How many drinks would it take you to leave with me? Yeah, you look good and I got money but I don’t wanna waste my time.” The back-to-back “Arch & Point” and “Pussy Is Mine” towards the end of the album show that when it comes right down to it, he is predominantly, a sexually oriented lyricist. With the main hook of the former being, “Baby arch your back, and point your toes”.
It is unfortunate Kaleidoscope Dream was released in the same year as Channel Orange, resulting in Miguel receiving less accolades than he deserved, however this did go to show that R&B is definitely on the rise following this very successful year for the genre. Miguel also shows himself very capable of adopting the style of PBR&B, which is looking like it will become the predominant form of R&B music in the near future. A very strong album by a promising artist, whose looking like he will only improve with subsequent releases, so let us hope for some more of those brash but immaculately well-sung lyrics like, “No, no, no, I ain’t judging if you do decide that you might be fucking tonight, what?”
Verdict – 8.2
Top Tracks – “Adorn”, “Use Me”, “How Many Drinks?”