Miguel
Kaleidoscope Dream


4.0
excellent

Review

by FlattedThird USER (10 Reviews)
January 24th, 2013 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite a cheesy cover, Miguel furthers the push to move R&B out of R. Kelly's closet and back into the serious music conversations.

Don't jude a book by its cover - no truer words have ever been frequently quoted, especially in literature and music. I absolutely hate the cover of this album, so much so that I put off listening to it when it was first critically lauded. Then, Pitchfork implored their faithful readers to pick it up, furthering my skepticism. It took one of my friends to tweet about how lucky we were to get Frank Ocean's "Thinking 'Bout You" and Miguel's "Adorn" in the same year; boy, was he ever right: this album feels like a gift, insight to Miguel's mind. It was that little bit of pathos that put me over the edge, and I finally checked out Kaleidoscope Dream.

Never have I had so much fun listening to an R&B album. Miguel is the perfect blend of talent and humor, a true showman. And then I heard him on the radio. I was shocked, then people were shocked I didn't know Miguel from the radio. One of the defining traits of a hipster is that they are always quick to give up on something that's mainstream - one fault among many. Did the fact that I had been enjoying a radio artist bother me? No. I'm not trying to refute any accusations of being hipster, there is an actual point behind this: It makes total sense Miguel is on the radio, he's great. Everything about him is marketable, but most of all, everything on Kaleidoscope Dream is top-tier music. Even with radio exposure, which will hopefully translate to album sales and further exposure, Miguel has a song like "Pussy Is Mine" on his album, a half-joking, half-sad song that could never be played on the radio. He made this album for a major label, but he only put out what he was confident in. I don't think there were any eye-rolling moments on this album because Miguel is so believable in every hat he puts on, a veritable pop chameleon.

"Adorn" is just as adept as "Thinking 'Bout You" is to open an album, but the twist here is Miguel produced the song, along with getting co-credits on a lot of the other songs, and there are even other songs on here solely produced by the singer himself, "Pussy Is Mine" and "Candles in the Sun". The songs on Kaleidoscope Dream aren't stripped down or simple; they're maximalist, sounding like something Janelle Monáe would sing over -- actually, that would be a pretty amazing collaboration. I can best describe these songs as "What Prince would make, had he been from the year 2032." Miguel's voice is sharp and pointed, effortlessly crafting melodies from thin air. I couldn't tell you a moment on this album that doesn't feel organic, and it's because of Miguel's understanding of his own voice.

One of my favorite moments on the album comes in the last fifty-five seconds of "Don't Look Back" where an undulating synth line, seemingly from nowhere, backs Miguel crooning, finally ending with the line, "It's the time of the season for loving." I don't think anyone else could possibly utter that line with any severity and pull it off. It seems like everything on this album works, which seems harder and harder to do in a genre that was deemed a joke in the late nineties when New Jack took a turn for the worse. It's great to see 2012 have some of the best R&B albums I've heard since Voodoo - it's hard not to use D'Angelo as a benchmark.

The most adventurous part of Kaleidoscope Dream comes with the eponymous song. You may recognize the sample immediately, as it's the same from Eminem's "My Name Is", arguably the rapper's biggest song. To challenge such an institution of a song, and to be completely successful, is something special. He makes it all his own.

While Frank Ocean challenged everything R&B had previously established about sexuality and love, Miguel expands the genre outward, showing a glimpse of growth within itself. And, although Kaleidoscope Dream isn't vying for a top spot on my personal year end list like Channel Orange is, that certainly doesn't discredit anything accomplished on this record. It's witty, fun, adeptly produced, and a much needed release to move R&B out of R. Kelly's closet.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2013


1626 Comments


One of the defining traits of a hipster is that they are always quick to give up on something that's mainstream

^^

Very true.

You may recognize the sample immediately, as it's the same from Eminem's "My Name Is", arguably the rapper's biggest song.

^^

Holy shit! I never noticed and that was on my songs of the year list.

This is a great review and I'm shocked there are no comments yet. Pos'd.

slipnslide
February 9th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one comment wtf lol

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2013


15035 Comments


great album

slipnslide
February 9th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

candles in the sun is ma jam

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2013


15035 Comments


the only song i dont really like is wheres teh fun in forever, not much of an idea for a song there

slipnslide
February 9th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it feels like it should be an interlude almost

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2013


15035 Comments


how many drinks is the best song ever tho even tho its lyrics are a little...creepy

kevinweeks
February 12th 2013


59 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album may cause spontaneous panty dropping.

slipnslide
February 12th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ur mom may cause spontaneous panty dropping

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


15035 Comments


this guy is a FANTASTIC live singer, wow

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013


15035 Comments


still so much staying power y'all


FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2013


9034 Comments


I've only heard Quickie (which I don't think is on here) and Adorn but this guy seems super talented

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013


15035 Comments


yeah quickie is good song from his first, sorta ignored album. almost all of this is really great though, as were his sneakily released little "Art Dealer Chic" EPs from last year

warty891
May 20th 2013


8 Comments


dat last paragraph

Sheaiskl
June 4th 2013


816 Comments


dropkicking hoez

illmitch
June 4th 2013


5429 Comments


listening to album for the first time

this rules

oltnabrick
July 29th 2013


30792 Comments


still need to listen to this all the way through

Digging: Monte / Magnétophonique - Split

guitarded_chuck
August 22nd 2013


2944 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nigga wearin shades like he pitbull or sum

Timeizillmatic9
August 31st 2013


256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

soooooooo good

PunchforPunch
March 5th 2014


6280 Comments


hmmmh sexy

Digging: Robert Hood - Fabric 39



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