This article was originally published in The Source “Power 30” Issue #273
War & Leisure
Production: Miguel, Mark Pitts, and more
Since 2010, Miguel has consistently delivered solid projects. With the release of his fourth studio album, War & Leisure, he’s done it again. Although it has never been his M.O. to stray too far from traditional R&B, he uses this album to explore new experimental sounds, expanding on his usual implementation of Rock and Funk. Listeners knew he was coming with unique edge when he released the album’s lead single, “Skywalker” featuring Travis Scott. The opposing forces came together perfectly, with Travis’ alternative delivery complementing Miguel’s serene tones.
The title fits the album, as he uses metaphors that equate love to war throughout the project. The first track, “Criminal,” features the one and only Rick Ross, and is reminiscent of melodies on Miguel’s second studio album Kaleidoscope Dream (2012). With a calming-yet-dangerous vibe, it is a strong opener that accurately introduces what is to come.
At its start, it sounds as if the album is going to be about finding ways to escape dark times, but its theme is less blunt, and Miguel uses more intricate storytelling to get his messages across. It’s an album about love that easily brings listeners into a euphoric state.
From songs that will take you on Cloud 9 and make you want to love somebody, like “Pineapple Skies” and “Banana Clip,” to songs that will make you feel like a sensual Greek god or goddess, like “Anointed,” War & Leisure is infused with a diverse blend of tracks to feed multiple alter egos.
The album shows Miguel’s growth as an artist into one who is taking more musical risks and dabbling in political references. He shows his everlasting dreamer mentality, and the freedom he promises his lovers extends to himself, as he indicates that he is the king of just letting go. With an impressive range, Miguel masters getting many different sounds to jell together cohesively.
His unyielding vocals paired with sultry sonics introduce a sexy record for those looking to relax and unwind. Each song on the 12-track album is smooth, calling for an easy-listening experience. It also has guest appearances by J. Cole, Salaam Remi, Kali Uchis and more. War & Leisure is sure to expand Miguel’s presence to other music genres, but we can trust that Miguel will never stop providing us the authentic soul that many modern-day artists lack.