Miguel War & Leisure
Stark contrasts often yield sweet results: peanut butter and jelly, high- and low-brow art, “Ebony and Ivory”—the list goes on. And it’s true for LA crooner Miguel. The soul soldier’s fourth full-length, War & Leisure, is an exploration with two objectives: exploring the ripe emotional battleground between pleasure and pain and expanding the singer’s vast sonic palette.
Booty-call banger “Come Through and Chill” is a shining example of that clash. The song juxtaposes Miguel’s smooth, jazz-tinged psychedelic funk with sharp cadences from North Carolina rapper J. Cole. The two get political, with lines like “Know you’ve been on my mind like Kaepernick kneelin’/Or police killings, or Trump sayin’ slick sh*t.” You can practically hear an arena singalong erupt during the climax of the mantra-like chant in “Pineapple Skies”—“Everything gonna be all right”—resounding in anthemic songwriting glory. Unfortunately, Miguel’s ambition sometimes gets the best of him, and songs that follow his tried-and-true formula of sexually-charged R&B/soul can feel odd filtered through a political lens. War & Leisure flaunts Miguel’s dexterity, which only works part of the time.