The new Miguel album War & Leisure dropped last week and was highlighted as part of Go 95.3’s New Music Friday. Every Monday, we follow up with some critical thoughts.

The hosts listened over the weekend, and the verdict’s in. All reviews are on a 1-5 scale.

= unlistenable

= a few thrills

= above average

= one of the year’s best

= lit today, and forever

Auggie 5000 – I know what Miguel was doing here. He wanted to draw a contrast of feelings on this album, but it ended up being a little incoherent. I didn’t know if I wanted to feel or if I wanted to party. He gave us quite a few tastes from the album before it dropped, but one of those songs, “Shockandawe” didn’t make the cut for some reason. I feel like with an album called, War & Leisure, we could have had more songs about war. The big one that we did get though, “City of Angels” delivered really well for me. The unique songwriting and storytelling really did it for me. This album had so much potential. Nothing about it is bad for me beyond the pace and lack of rhythm between the songs.   

Sophia Eris – You can tell Miguel is truly attempting to expand the metaphors of love. With songs like “Banana Clip” and “Pineapple Skies,” he illustrates a fresh way to describe limerence within a relationship. The production ranges from psychedelic, to Marvin Gaye-inspired production, to ’80s pop. My favorite tracks are his hit single “Skywalker” and “Come Through and Chill,” in which we brought back a veteran collaborator, J. Cole. I feel like a joint project with J. Cole would be a smart move for his next endeavor, but one can only hope. His vocal performance is exceptional as always, but his writing to me is a hit or miss. 

Chaz Kangas – It’s been a year of pushing the envelope for Miguel, from his “II Lovin’ You” with DJ Premier to his show-stopping Late Show with Stephen Colbert performance, and War & Leisure continues that consistency. I really enjoyed this album. Production-wise, the vibe is a more guttural, vulnerable lush midpoint between where Childish Gambino and Calvin Harris have been dabbling, but the warmth of the Miguel’s presence really makes the album feel like the product of a by-gone era without being dated. They don’t make ’em like this anymore, and while the line between ‘War’ and ‘Leisure’ is a touch puddling to stand as the name of the project, song-by-song it emotes the soul of how a wall of grooves used to feel as a kid. 

 

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