Awe and Pleasure
(Hate to Say I Told You So)
“Miguel is one of the faces of an enthralling new strand of R’n’B that has blossomed recently, a strand that never takes its eyes off its influences but still crafts music that represent new creative highs for the entire genre. I’m generally heterosexual and generally male, yet after listening to ‘Wildheart’ sultrily and explicitly dry hump my ear for 46 minutes I still became pregnant more than a dozen times and tweeted Miguel so many naked pictures I’m actually due in court a week next Tuesday. If he concentrated more on the brash and provocative modern rethinks of ‘Dirty Mind’ rather than AOR nonsense like ‘face the sun(sic)’ then he could get amazing.”
In 2015 a influential yet outrageously (and intensely sexually) intoxicating up and coming writer wrote those words about Miguel’s previous album. That writer believed that they key to unlocking Miguel’s potential brilliance was to concentrate and focus his influences on compiling a modern update on Prince’s best works. That writer believed strongly that Miguel should always concentrate on the shagging-that was pretty much his calling card, after all- but he should look into more subversive ways of presenting his sexuality than the occasional one note dogged horniness of ‘Wildheart’. An aldum, lest we forget, contained tracks with titles such as Suck It Like It’s George C Suckington’s Birthday; Touch it, I Dare You (Eeeew! I Can’t Believe You Actually Touched It!, I Don’t Have Any Serious Reservations About A Little Slap and Tickle (If You Catch My Drift) and PENIS!! FUCKING PENIS!!!! FANNY!!! (I’ll Have Some of That N’All). The writer was at pains to confirm just how amazing and important shagging was.
Well, and this revelation might blow your tiny and insignificant minds, that writer was I, reader. And I’m not too proud to admit I was wrong.
I mean, not totally wrong, I’m still actually far too proud to ever admit that I was 100% wrong. I was completely right about Miguel getting amazing in the future. I mean, to the degree that I really should be looked upon as some sort of genius. Find me one other writer in (shoot) 2015 who was predicting that Miguel would be amazing in the future. Go on, try.
Fuck it, I’ll save you the hassle: I’ll search Google for ‘people who were predicting Miguel for greatness in 2015’ and see what comes up:
Boom. That’s me, motherfuckers! I am a golden God!!!!!!!!
But, no, I was not absolutely 100% correct. 90%, maybe. Perhaps even 95%. But not 100%. Like, 98%. 99%. I mean, if you think about it, I was about 99.9% right, because…
I digress: Miguel didn’t make the leap into being truly awesome because of more wryly subverting his sexuality, or even by including one or two more nuanced shagging songs like Is She Really Down to Fuck (Or is it Just Gas)? or Erection! Nope, Wait, It’s Gone, Sorry. I Was Just Thinking About That Louise Nurding Video Again.
‘War and Leisure’ sees Miguel make the jump into awesomeness by embracing the poppier side of his music (which is always the best step to make, and actually a step towards Prince) and, if you’ll believe it, becoming far more politically and socially conscious (far more than Prince ever bothered to be)!!
I mean, yeah, the songs about shagging are still there, because the last pop album not to feature a song about shagging was (funnily enough) ‘Naked’ by Louise in 1996, a concept album concerning how a young peasant girl in Ditchling, East Sussex in 1815 must have felt as the new tariffs on corn production are introduced (‘Sorrowful Sally’, the album’s protagonist, tragically dies in 1846, cruelly missing the law’s repeal that very year. It’s actually an emotionally devastating album). Now, though, they’re supported by numerous commentaries on the wider world greatly surrounding Miguel’s genital area.
From Now directly addressed at the ‘CEO of the free world’ (“Is that the look of freedom, now?/Is that the sound of freedom, now?/’Cause it’s plain to see a man’s integrity/By the way he treats those he does not need/And it’s time we talk about it/Let’s not waste our common ground/We will fall for standing and watching, all in silence”) and coming with a video full to bursting point with wonderful intentions. To J.Cole’s aside on Come Through and Chill of “You been on my mind like Kaepernick kneeling / Or police killings / Or Trump saying slick shit / Manipulating poor white folks because they ignorant”. Even the war torn dystopia suggested in City of Angels is heavily implied to be the result of, y’know, someone.
And, yes, in (kayfabe) 2017 Miguel singing a song in Spanish (his father is Mexican) is definitely a political statement
Yeah, maybe the high points on ‘War and Leisure’ are so high that I’m overrating this album ever so slightly, but for any mainstream artist to suddenly develop a conscience of the world at large must always be celebrated. Especially if he does it over such bang up the elephant choons.
Age: 32 (+0)
Album Number: 4 (+48)
Album Length: 48 minutes (+0)
Very Good Songs: 2 (+24)
Brilliant Songs: 8 (+160)
AMAZING Songs: 2 (+80)
% of Album Worthwhile: 100
It’s a cover that I love so much it inspired the following exchange with my best friend on WhatsApp:
Previous Entries: 2015 No.29
Meta Critic: 81
Louise Nurding’s Naked Award: +1000
That really was a brilliant pop song, wan’t it?