Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
September 25, 2012
What It Sounds Like: R&B, funk, and soul all mashed up into a crooner’s dream of nonstop sexual encounters – twenty four hours a day.
I knew better.
But I rolled the dice anyways to think this was going to meet the expectations set before me by Saturday Night Live.
Miguel performed Adorn and How Many Drinks? on Saturday Night Live back in April, and slayed both songs. Killed it. I’m not running out to buy new R&B records, but I thought this guy had some serious talent. The last time I enjoyed anything R&B-related so much was back in 2010 when Janelle Monae released The ArchAndroid; intricate, full band, and cutting edge.
I should have known that when they put this tape that they were going to produce the absolute living daylights out of it. Not that it’s bad; no no, it’s got it’s moments, but it could have been much better. This record had a chance to set itself apart from the rest of the pack musically with that awesome full band sound, but let’s be honest: setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack doesn’t always sell more records, and when you’re chasing that dollar, it’s easy to make that beat a little smoother and make that synth just a little more shiny.
But hey, it’s super-produced, and I just gotta accept it. I’ll get over it and judge on what we actually have here, which is really just one thing:
Miguel is selling sex.
I know, that’s what we get sold on a day to day basis anyways, but it’s usually interrupted with a little variation. Not here. It’s freaky-ness all night long til the sun comes up to the break of dawn and every other cliche you can think of.
Adorn is the no-holds-barred, Marvin Gaye wannabe single, but its sweet and smooth in its own right. It doesn’t bash you over the head with superflicious claims, and it works well. It’s one of the few instances on Kaleidoscope Dream where Miguel holds himself back, realizing that he may be a man who really just wants to love on his woman – and all this star power and hype of the club really may not be worth all its cracked up to be. Use Me cranks up the foreplay a little more, with opening deliveries like, Sedate me, salacious, salty, and sweet / I’m overwhelmed by tasty thoughts of you. It’s all layered over a beat that just screams for lowered lights and locked doors without any lyrical accompaniment needed. Arch & Point is a great slow jam that showcases what comes next when you didn’t think you could take it much further…
But then, just like I knew he would, he gets cocky. But of course he does! That’s what this record is for. Is Miguel really going to tell a girl that he’s ready to please her…
…but only if she’s up for it? He knows she has that 8:00 A.M. conference call down at SunTrust that she has to be up for.
Give me a break.
The beat on Do You may be my favorite on the record (so please check it out!), but the lyrics are tired. If the girl is really his drug that he’s referring to, or if he’s into actual drugs anyways, I’ve heard them both too many times. The beat and lyrics for the don’t-think-about-tomorrow anthem Where’s The Fun In Tomorrow is old and worn out. I dare not even try to type the title of track ten, but it’s the worst attempt at shock that I’ve heard in a long while. Truthfully, the minimal accompaniment to his vocal delivery is horrible and boring, and the lyrics are pathetic. It’s only there so when someone sees the title, it gives them more incentive to buy the record.
I’m going to get on my soapbox really quick to address How Many Drinks?
The beat is great, no question about it. But these lyrics really just make me laugh. This is the chorus and bridge:
Cause I ain’t leaving alone
Feel like I could be honest babe
We both know that we’re grown
That’s why I wanna know …
How many drinks would it take you to leave with me?
Yeah, you look good and I got money
But I don’t wanna waste my time.
Back of my mind I’m hoping you say two or three
You look good, we came to party
But I don’t wanna waste my time.
I ain’t judgin
If you do decide that you might be f–kin’ tonight.
More power to you if you do decide that you might be f–kin’ tonight.
Let me dig that out like a fossil
Damn baby that ass is colossal
Pilates a mill did that body so good
You’ve gotten a pair, I wish I could
Miguel, please call me man, because I’ve got questions galore for you!
1) Why do you need a woman to be drunk in order to get her to come home with you? Do you have that low of an opinion of yourself? I mean, is your internal conversation something along the lines of: I’m an ugly sucker, and there’s no way this chick is going to come home with me with only one drink in her; let’s get her some more!
2) You got money! Why in the back of your mind are you hoping it’s just two or three drinks?! It’s like you have a conquest in front of you, but if it’s taking more than those two or three drinks, you may just have to forget about it. Goodness, I hope you don’t give up on everything in life that easily.
3) You don’t want to waste your time if these drinks don’t work so you can get in her pants? Waste your time?! What woman in her right mind would ever want to be in this position? Baby, I just wanna screw, but I don’t wanna waste my time, so come on, all right?! This is taking all night, and there’s a million other ladies here. Gentleman, if you’re ever cooking your wife a candlelit dinner and you’re looking for some music to “set the mood” for afterwards, the beat here may scream out at you to put it on, but I can assure you – don’t do it!
4) What is going on with that bridge, honestly? What are you digging out? Rare ancient artifacts? (cue up 1:13 please)
Alright, let’s wrap this up, because I’m getting really wordy.
As far as music is concerned, there are some great jams on here. I’ve overtalked about the lyrics just because sex and hype runs so rampant in our culture, and I knew I was fooling myself into thinking that maybe I would have run into something a little different here with this record. But as far as R&B is concerned, you’ll be better served here than with most of Miguel’s other Top-4o counterparts, even with its blatant flaws.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Adorn / Use Me