Having a jonesing to review some new music and not having any local talent lined up this month I decided to shift through some of the music I'm currently into and thought "Yea, maybe I can make something out of that." I know many of my facebook friends are still healing from the barrages of status updates dedicated to this sexy Prince reincarnate R&B/Soul artist known as Miguel. Trey Songz, eat your heart out, have a good seat and take notes, as 4-Star Explorer prepares to review Miguel's latest discographical venture, Kaleidoscope Dream.
By now you've seen him, heard his music, or even created a psuedo-relationship in your head full of head dizzying convertible rides and late night guitar serenades (maybe I just told too much about myself, blame FanFiction). Showcasing his talent for vocals, penning of suggestive yet sentimental songs, and a distinct style of fashion; Miguel Pimental or simply Miguel allured us all with his debut album All I Want is You. Moving on from the success of hits like Sure Thing and Quickie, Miguel went on to feature on Lotus Flower Bomb alongside Wale; eliciting spikes in sales of the popular fragrance by the added drones of female fans. Miguel rides off the zenith of that popularity and takes it even higher on what I think is characterized as his best work yet. This past October 2nd marked the release of his latest album Kaleidoscope Dream. And if you haven't already, you should add this album to your rotation immediately. The track list as a whole is solid and can work as easy listening for the soulful among us or just when you need to wind down from all the manufactured cookie cutter urban music out today. 4-Star compiled a list and our insight on the standout tracks from this multifaceted dreamscaped compilation.
Adorn: If you've been anywhere near a radio and especially if you are an avid listener of one of the two Chicago urban(sometimes ratchet) radio stations then you've probably heard this f*cking song by now. Practically everyone is going apeshit for it and rightfully so. With the airy back and lead vocals, billowy down tempo beat, and a cute drumbeat that alludes Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing, the song sets him apart from other club songs out.
Do You...: Now right away I felt like I got transplanted to the 90s because the melody gives of a retro feel that was characteristic of a lot of the popular pop music of that time. It might be the straining of the guitar strings or the light-hearted summer love theme of the song. Now, I don't want to misrepresent myself to any illicit behavior but with Miguel's funky hook "Do you like drugs/Do you like hugs/Yea,well me too" if he sung that to me I might be vexed into saying yes. (Just joking, don't do drugs kids!)
Don't Look Back: Watch out Ladies! The black James Dean is out on the prowl in this song suggesting vampire tendencies and he doesn't sparkle in sun. With lines like "If I should claim a victim/To devour you for the lie/I pray that you forgive me/It’s just my appetite" we're left wondering just what is Miguel looking to feed on. The song isn't necessarily a dance tune but provides a high energy sound that can most definitely get heads bobbing and fists pumping. For you music buffs, listen to the end to get a little easter egg from The Zombies Time of the Season.
Kaleidoscope Dream: The album's title song is the artist's welcome, seducing listeners into his world of allure. It's very R&B meets Willy Wonka if that makes any sense. And if you listen to the drumbeat you might notice it sounds closely to Eminem's My Name Is.
P***y is Mine: I should probably be ashamed of myself for liking this song so much because of the explicit content. And I 'm sure if a man said those things to my face he would leave picking his jaw up off the floor but I don't know, it's just something about a guy and a guitar that makes a girl swoon. But amidst the eroticism is a real and raw heartfelt song. And I just love how he comes off as unaware of his brilliance as he playfully asks "Oh, are we recording?" Yea, because he just always gives amazing unplugged sessions.
Candle in the Sun: I'm gonna go out on a ledge and dub this the best song Miguel has released so far in his career. In a time where the world is experiencing a time of unbridled hurt Miguel records a song that perfectly paints snapshots of our time. Lyrics like "Sun goes down/Heroes often get shot/Peace has long been forgot/Ooh will it be too late when we find out/We're all that we got" hit hard in your soul. Revamping it from the original rough draft he sings behind a live band offering a more intimate surrounding. It's also meant to get you riled into action with lines like "Business and governments just watch as the innocent fade./Mindless bureaucracy fails, hindering government aid./Aren't you appalled?/What are we doing?" Miguel creates a social activism that today's music is surely lacking.
Though this article is geared to focus on reviewing Kaleidoscope Dream, I would be remiss if I didn't include some of his work from the Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1-3 Mixtape Series he put out earlier this year that many fans may not know exists. Created to whet fans appetite for the upcoming album, Art Dealer Chic, included rough copies of songs like Candle in the Sun, Adorn, and Arch & Point that made the album but also included unreleased songs. And if he hasn't attributed enough to the music world since his recent release he published an unfinished song including: completed beat, a featured chorus sung by the stellar songster, and the free reign of any artists out there who has always wanted to work with him. The songs in question Broads, is a testament to the age-old dilemma of getting caught in extra-relational affairs. And if Art Dealer Chic Volumes 1-3 wasn't bananas enough he went all the way over the edge and said "Deal, bitches" by introducing Art Dealer Slowed which features the songs from each volume only the track speed has been tampered with.
Everybody get your magic throwback caps on and think back to the time when the line "Mike Jones, Who, Mike Jones" was a popular song line and not an actual question to the identity of the now irrelevant artist. When grills were being installed faster than On-Star. There was a growing genre of music called Chopped and Screwed that arose from the south. Now I'll be honest, I didn't get it much then and damn sure don't get it now but Miguel's Slowed... is a nice homage to that early 00s sound. And trust there is a difference between the original and then later slowed track.
Party Life: A lot of people feel uncomfortable when I make comparisons between the young crooner and established icon Prince. For those needing convincing I offer you this song. Tell me that don't sound like a little Prince in that? I'm actually getting some of Prince's protege Sheila E. channeling some Love Bizarre vibes. It's got cool electric sound effects and fast paced percussion that comes off classic but still modern.
Ooh Aah: A song sure to bring out your inner model darling! I heard this and you couldn't tell me I wasn't giving off Naomi Campbell realness. The electric guitar stretches the limits of R&B music making it cooler, edgier. That added to the now common technique of Miguel's musical seduction this is sure to be a noted song for the wild ones among us.
Gravity (Original and Slowed): Miguel's play on love at first sight by way of planetary metaphors. A nice simple song, sort of textbook R&B, it's an easy listening piece that a couple can do a quick two-step together and keep it real cute then have a seat. I invite you to also give the slowed version a listen as I feel that the reduction in pace makes the song come off haunting wistful.
Also, Candle in the Sun Slowed is also a great song to plug into your headphones sometimes. It's got the same impact as the album version but it has sort of a flow and sway to it that makes it a bit rougher and grittier. It personally brought out my inner doe boy. (What? Like you've never thought how you'd sound as a kingpin?)
But don't just take my word for it visit these sites to get a first listen to these and other songs but I strongly suggest buying this album. I coped mine from iTunes but any department chain store will do.
Kaleidoscope Dream: kaleidoscopedream.officialmiguel.com
Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1: datpiff.com/Miguel-Art-Dealer-Chic-Vol1-EP-mixtape
And oh yea, apparently Senor Miguel got my memo on the Chopped and Screwed remark because BAM! Here it is fresh for you folks!
Kaleidoscope Dream Chopped N Screwed: datpiff.com/Miguel-Kaleidoscope-Dream-chopped-Screwed-mixtape