Miguel steps one foot outside the bedroom in ‘War & Leisure’
Erotic-funk singer/songwriter, Miguel‘s fourth studio album, War & Leisure, is likely his most conscious, inventive body of work to date. Miguel is most widely known for his massive R&B ballad “Adorn,” which won him a Grammy in 2013. The track was released on his 2012 Kaleidoscope Dream, the LP that signified Miguel’s leap towards a more overtly psychedelic variation of his Pop/R&B production style.
In addition to his emblematic crooning of celestial bedroom sagas, we hear Miguel fighting to remain positive amid the tempestuous political climate in War & Leisure — title befitting. The album sees these two tones merge most discernibly in “Banana Clip,” wherein underneath the overtly phallic overtures, Miguel references the looming prospect of nuclear war with North Korea: “M16 on my lap / We hear missiles in the sky.”
Miguel also takes moments, specifically in the funkadelic, “Told You So,” to channel one his most salient influences, Prince, with lush, throbbing vocals and enrapturing eroticism. The production itself affords War & Leisure an air of wavy psychedelia, brought on by abundant reverb within both vocals and instrumentals, breathy dissonance, and distortion pedals galore — most evident in “Criminal,” featuring Rick Ross.