Miguel is not a regular Grammy-Award winning singer. His aesthetic speaks louder than his sound—a fuse of the 90s music feel and an inexplicable futuristic vibe that probably made Vibe Magazine recently brand him and Kendrick Lamar as “The New Classics.” From his sturdy creative direction, velvety voice, naughty yet catchy lyrics like [I don’t wanna be loved, I just want a quickie) to simply how he adorns and moves in the classic black trench coat in How Many Drinks? music video; it’s literally hard to point at what’s not to love about this man.
His debut album All I Want Is You, released in 2010 was pretty solid but still wasn't impressive enough for a lot music critics. I thought it was an ode to lost R&B and probably the first sign of Miguel coming to the rescue of the genre that in a few years would be overtaken by pop. Jodeci or Shai would in this decade easily produce a song like Miguel’s Teach Me—it’s lazy sexy and slurry beat echoes Jodeci’s baby-making hit Freek'N You. Only Quickie, Sure Thing and the album’s title track All I Want Is You featuring J. Cole shone, the latter’s hip hop/R&B combi pushing both artists to topping radio charts. My stand out tracks in this album was My Piece and Girls Like You. In the latter, Miguel sings about single-hood There’s always that guy/girl you can’t have but will always remind you that you’re lonely. Here, his electric guitarist delivers a stellar recording. Sure Thing is my all-time favorite Miguel song, also from this album. [Love you like a brother, treat you like a friend, respect you like a lover … this love is a sure thing]. I appreciate the poetry in this masterpiece.
In early 2012, Miguel released Art Dealer Chic Vol 1 & 2 EPs. The six-tracked two-part record birthed songs like Adorn and Gravity that would later feature in his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream, released later in the year ( September). The album’s first single Adorn went on win him many fans and the 2013 Grammy Award for R&B Song.
It’s a dream come true to find an album like Kaleidoscope Dream that needs no skip-a-track dial. The vocal arrangements in its title track Kaleidoscope Dream give the listener a whimsical and smooth welcoming into the album’s experience. I like that here Adorn was given the entirety it deserves. The first Adorn off the EP was only two minutes long and ends even without a bridge. Anyway, Adorn has probably one of the sickest kicks I ever heard and it’s just cute for anyone to say, “Let my love adorn you.” Other Must-Listens in this album include Do You (whose video’s love interest is Miguel’s actual girlfriend Nadia –sweet), The Thrill and Where’s The Fun In Forever? (Miguel originally wrote this song for Alicia Keys and took it back when it didn’t fit into her Girl On Fire album) that features Alicia Keys only shouting “Music Break” at the rear end—bizarre doesn’t start to explain this collaboration that never really was.
How Many Drinks? 4.33
This song slowly overtook my love for Adorn as my best Miguel song off the new album. I just like its feel-good vibe and story line. Here, Miguel wears the shoes of a man in the club and in need of a lay. Unlike the old trick of buying a woman gallons of vodka, he sings [How many drinks will it take for you to go home with me? I don’t want to waste your time or my time] The message in this song is deep. I am not championing picking girls or men in the club but the policy that when you want something, whatever it may be—go for it! [I aint’ judging if you decide that you might be f* tonight] How Many Drinks? Remix featuring Kendrick Lamar is a fantastic marriage and its video –clean, classy and classic! (Check that alliteration am ill :-)
Pussy Is Mine 3.13
I just want to know why R&B lovers crucified Brian McKnight for singing about pussy yet Miguel’s pussy song wasn’t jeered at all. It must be an age thing. It just sounds wrong singing about pussy in your 40s but which girl wouldn’t want the sexy 28-year-old Miguel singing raunchy things into her ear? I love that the naughtiest song had to be the only acoustic song in Miguel’s entire discography and absolutely hate that I sometimes find myself singing it out loud [Tell me that pussy is mine]. Do guys actually go around saying, “That P* is mine?”
Candles In The Sun 4.56
A lot of good and bad things alike happen in life; while some happen around, others are miles away. But we are brought together by the power of media and music to know of gang rapes in Syria, illegal drug trafficking in Mexico, foreign house helps being mistreated in Dubai, Kony marshaling child soldiers in Uganda and our own country’s inequality among worldly events. This song is about such times. It equates humans to silly creatures that light candles in the sun, blowing in the wind. Miguel sings [If there’s a God is He watching? Is She watching? If not, where are we going? What are we doing? … They say that we are all created equal but that’s not how we treat each other… When the sun goes down, heroes are shot; will it be too late to find out?]
BONUS: “May we all live long, may we all be brave. And the bridges we burned only light our way,” Miguel. I just reviewed Miguel’s entire discography in one post. Biggest Kenyan fan.