Miguel | Wildheart (Bystorm Entertainment/RCA)

miguel 75They say third times a charm, and well, that seems to hold true for Miguel.

 

 

 

I am a sucker for an R&B album that does two things: it reminds me of love and the sensuality it brings. And on Wildheart, Miguel makes sure to enlace the album with just that. He comes through and fills the void that has been missing so much in mainstream music.

An easy listen, Wildheart transitions from one track to the next as part of a greater love story. “Beautiful Exit” opens the album with layered harmonies and full-body bass lines that detail how we overcome life’s curveballs and discover the reason we are alive. With Miguel’s falsetto-esque vocals, we fellow “wildhearts” can be open to delving deeper into the album and into each other with an open heart.

That’s what the whole album is about, especially “The Valley,” which Miguel sings spiritedly about romancing his partner as if they’re making porn in the hub of San Fernando Valley. “I wish I could paint our love, these moments and vibrant hue,” he croons in the lead single “Coffee,” which details the power of lust in a relationship that awakens him just like a cup of joe—fresh and strong each morning.

The pulse of the album changes a bit as we get into “NWA,” which has a bit of a cowboy showdown with a sexy samba feeling that pulls us into the explicit competition of the lyrics with a little help from Kurupt. “Waves” holds no barriers either—giving us an old-school vibe as he provides several metaphors for a woman’s wetness singing that he wants to “surf in it baby, getting turnt in it baby, putting work in it baby.”

Between Miguel being hypersexual and just downright horny, he manages to intertwine and explore his own thoughts and the things he’s seen on “What’s Normal Anyway?”

“Too immoral for the Christians, but too moral for the cutthroat,” he sings. “Too far out for the in-crowd, what’s normal anyway?”

Filled with juxtapositions and internal conflict of belonging in his culture, neighborhood, and new circles of friend, he’s desperately trying to create his own normalcy. Miguel effortlessly pens “Hollywood Dreams,” an often-told tale of the unforeseen, but powerful world of Hollywood that can force a dreamer into a person you never knew was inside. But once that Hollywood side comes out, you’re only left with “cheap thrills, fake friends, coke binge—what a numb sensation.”

I love that Miguel includes an “enter.lewd” (interlude) on his albums, which sounds as if we’re being personally ushered into forbidden territory. I have to admit the last four tracks are my favorites.

“Going to Hell” introduces us to flash backs of sinful trouble that will bring damnation to us, and the only way we can be freed is through the love of a savior. From the second “Flesh” permeates the speakers you feel the heat move through your body. Couple that with Miguel’s sensual falsetto, and here’s a track that makes the hairs of your neck stand up. You can feel the anticipation of him wanting to get his woman is back in his grasp as craves to feel her every move.

“I’m a slave to your flesh; woman, put me right where I belong,” he demands.

As we dive into the last two songs on Wildheart, Miguel comes out of his sexual coma and reflects deeply on his relationship. He metaphorically describes changes in the relationship in “Leaves,” where he juxtaposes his relationship and California, a constant place of sunshine and nonexistent seasonal changes. Because he’s not changing like his native state nor did expect his lady to change, he calls it quits.

“I never saw it coming,” he sings. “Sweet California, sour California/Sweet California, bitter California/Sweet California, oh/I should’ve know better, I should’ve know better/ The leaves, they don’t change here.”

“Face the Sun,” the last track, features the legendary Lenny Kravitz. It is evident that Miguel is just as passionate about love as he is about sex. He begins the first verse telling his girl that he’s no angel, but she accepts him anyway. Facing the reality that his lover knows him so well, you can see they are a good reflection of each other, and there is no one else he wants to be with. It’s the a unique way for him to conclude Wildheart as he faces the music for what this album brings—being true to his carnal nature and desires.

They say third times a charm, and well, that seems to hold true for Miguel. I just hate he’s not coming to Nashville on his promotional tour. A- | Ashley White

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