What, exactly, does Miguel want? Listening to the lusty slow jams that make up fourth album ‘War & Leisure’, you’d be forgiven for thinking this loverman mainly wants a nice cuddle. It wasn’t always this way, though.
Speaking to NME this week, the musician explained that critically lauded 2015 album ‘Wildheart’ said “something about what I stand for”, but lacked commercial success. Back then, he wanted to be an artist. Right now he wants to be a pop star. This new record is stuffed with killer hooks, bouncing rhythms and breezy production, with Travis Scott-featuring lead single ‘Sky Walker’ racking up more than 28 million YouTube views since August. The force is most definitely with Miguel.
Even better is sunny standout ‘Pineapple Skies’, which offers an excellent homage to a musical hero: “Don’t forget to hold on tight / While we Stevie Wonder through the night”. The languid ‘Come Through And Chill,’ featuring J. Cole, is another crisp, minimalist highlight. These are masterful pop songs constructed to sound effortless.
True, ‘War & Leisure’ lacks the obvious identity that has marked out Miguel’s previous three albums, but that’s no fault. By comparison, this is a compelling collection of poptastic R&B tracks made to soundtrack your night out. Kick back and listen up, because Miguel insists you have a great time in 2018.