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Superb; One of 2012's 'Crowning Achievements',
This review is from: Kaleidoscope Dream (Audio CD)
Twenty-five year old R&B singer/songwriter Miguel joins singer Frank Ocean in an elite league ushering in the new hipster/eclectic R&B movement. Miguel channels Prince on 2012's excellent Kaleidoscope Dream in which the songwriting is superb, the production unique, and Miguel's pipes soar. Kaleidoscope Dream follows up 2010's All I Want Is You, which was brought to a wider audience thanks to no. 1 R&B single "Sure Thing." Led by no. 1 R&B single "Adorn," and continuing promotion through second single "Do You," Kaleidoscope Dream is nothing short of a `treat.'
Opener "Adorn" mixes 80's sensibilities and soulful cues. Miguel's vocals are beautiful characterized by superb nuance and killer falsetto. The songwriting is chivalrous and thoughtful, with the chorus being a highlight: "You just gotta let my love...adorn you...know that I adore you/just that, baby). Overall "Adorn" is nothing sort of excellence epitomized.
"Don't Look Back" features more top-notch production including keyboard synth pads and dusty drum programming. Vocally, Miguel to allure with irresistible falsetto. The valedictory songwriting is capped off by a notable chorus: "If I (If I), Don't make it back before the sun (the sun)/all you have to do is run (run)/just promise you'll run (run) and don't look back...and promise me you'll run..." An outro, lifting off classic "Time of the Season" closes cleverly.
"Use Me" remains consistent and notable for excellent songwriting form. The production is busy, dusty, and mysterious, with eclectic sensibilities. Miguel passionately croons "And every wall I built up/has come crashing down/don't the waves pull the sand/don't the moon pull the tide baby..." Miguel is incredibly sensual here.
Second single "Do You" opens with an inquiring Miguel: "Do you like drugs?" His questions continue ("...Have you ever felt alone/do you believe in love") prior to the chorus ("But do you like drugs...Yeah, well me too...do you like love?... Yeah well me too..." Slated in neo-soul idiom, rhythmic electric guitar carries the groove before pummeling drums and a fat bass line `hold it down.' Nothing short of exceptional.
On "Kaleidoscope Dream," Miguel and Salaam Remi work together establishing a production that is unapologetically retro in quality (Labi Shiffre is sampled). Miguel's vocals are exceptional, particularly the harmonized portions. Well written, the portion including lyrics "Yeah, body language like piano keys/allow me to provoke thee/like you sing a melody/every single stroke baby..." is nothing short of clever. Proceeding cut "The Thrill" is solid if eclipsed by the heaviest of hitters. More infused with Miguel's pop/rock influence, it effectively contrasts more the more soulful-leanings of "Do You" or "Adorn."
"How Many Drinks" adds some contemporary swag, perhaps most confirmed by its 808 thuds. Miguel's falsetto and assured vocal nuances continue to allure. The songwriting ditches chivalrous fare in favor of the sensual, but Miguel pulls it off incredibly well, particularly the spoken-word bridge. On the Alicia Keys co-written "Where's The Fun in Forever," the drums are indicative of the hip hop-soul idiom. Additionally a heavily compressed bass line buttresses providing a firm foundation. Miguel's vocals are incredibly overt, particularly on the memorable chorus: "Tomorrow's just a day away yea/tomorrow's just a day away...and tomorrow isn't promised/where's the fun in forever? Celebrate!"
"Arch & Point" couples pop and soul with prominent use of guitar and humongous clapping drums. Miguel keeps up his sensual persona: "Yeah baby, you know I don't suppose/oh that every good girl know, yeah/oh all that every bad girl know/baby arch your back and point your toes..." He's more overt on "P***y is Mine," perhaps Miguel's most salacious showing. That said, Miguel's ode is more subdued than one would expect for such a liberal title. Miguel is accompanied by electric guitar, the occasional synth, and conservative 808. Closing cut "Candles in the Sun" opts for a socially conscious direction, appropriate given its placement.
Overall, Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream is easily one of the year's BEST albums. There are no misses and no notable flaws ultimately. Like Frank Ocean's exceptional channel ORANGE Miguel has more than exceeded expectations; This is a REAL R&B album.
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Initial post: Dec 25, 2012 8:28:59 AM PST
D. Jones says:
Before I read your review, and as I was listening to the samples of the tracks on this album, I was thinking this kid could be the second coming of PRINCE! I liked his first album a lot; this one will be added to the collection.
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