Kaleidoscope Dream was and forever will be one of my favorite modern R&B offerings from this decade. I loved that while everybody was going the alternative route, he stuck to R&B principles while still putting his own modern spin on it. But I knew this wasn’t a direction he would keep on forever and sure enough we got the more alternative leaning Wildheart and now again with War & Leisure. While he still makes music that shoots directly into the pleasure centers of our brains and his voice is as smooth as ever, the entire project is painted in a hazy, psychedelic fog. It’s an interesting approach that when matched with his nonchalant coolness, works exceptionally well in some instances, but then not at all in others. It’s a mixed bag that suffers a bit from all of the songs all operating in that same musical range, making the album feel longer than it’s 12 track listing suggests. On the positive side though, the production and overall composition of the album is extremely sharp and clean, and his songwriting is still some of the best in music. Despite it not being nearly as ‘woke’ as he alluded to (which I’m actually happy about). He certainly has some of the mechanics of Prince down and even the vocal chops to measure up, he’s just missing the real ‘soul’ to pull off this psychedelic R&B at a higher level.
“M16 on my lap (on my lap)
Korean missiles in the sky
No matter where I go on the map (on the map)
You got my protection (oh my love)
Banana clip on my love for you (yeah)
Let it ring like (graa)
Yeah, I let it ring like (graa)”
Have you heard War & Leisure? What’d you think about it? Do you think it will stand out from the crowd? And do you like this new direction for Miguel? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.