Miguel – Wildheart and Albums of 2015 so
By Francis Cook
Miguel is an anachronistic character. His music is grounded somewhere between 1970s Prince-esque power ballads and the early 2000s sensuality of Aaliyah and Usher. He represents a return to an era of R&B less abashed, less shrouded in mystery and irony.
I have nothing against the new “alternative” R&B style, so in favour with hipsters and critics, from the likes of FKA Twigs, The Weeknd, How to Dress Well and Frank Ocean – in fact I like all of them. Miguel is something different, however. It sounds like he’s doing whatever the fuck he wants and not worrying about being cool.
Miguel reinforces the idea himself on “what’s normal anyway”, singing “too out of touch to be in style/ too broke for the rich kids/ I don’t know what normal is.” In fact, it’s the most heart-breaking track he’s done. He sings: “I’m in a crowd and I feel alone/ I never feel like I belong/ I wanna feel like I belong somewhere,” while more softly in the background you can hear “don’t let them change you/ just be who are.” While Miguel is certainly not uncool, it’s a touching acknowledgment of his departure from other, better known acts.
Miguel’s previous full length album Kaleidoscope Dream opened with the near flawless “Adorn”, with which the following tracks could not compete. Then, I felt he was more suited to a slow laid back style. The louder, more epic tracks simply did not stack up for me. His lovely single with Mariah Carey “Beautiful”, cemented this for me. With Wildheart there’s a mastery over both styles. The major single “Coffee”, is laid back sweet and sexy slow-jam which sees him getting progressively louder and louder, eventually screaming lyrics by the end.
My highlights of Wildheart are “waves” and “Hollywood Dreams” and these are certainly the bangers of the album. I’m 90% certain I’ll pelt out the lyrics to these songs while under the influence at some point this year.
Here’s “Hollywood Dreams”
2015 Tracks and Albums
This year has been good to music. Here are a few of my favourites so far in no particular order (with my fav songs from them).
Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Earl Sweatshirt – I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside
Young Thug – Barter 6
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
Jamie xx – In Colour