On March 18, it was announced that Miguel, along with J.I.D, will be performing at this year’s Spring Fling on Saturday, April 13. In preparation for Miguel’s performance, Street takes look into the musical evolution of Miguel and what we should expect from this prolific R&B artist at his Fling concert.
Back in November 2010, Miguel released his debut album All I Want Is You. The album’s title track, which featured J.Cole, gained some traction and received high radio play. Miguel toured as a supporting act for Trey Songz and Usher, which furthered the popularity of the single. It’s a classic R&B love song in which you can hear influences from Miguel's predecessors, with some critics drawing comparison to Prince.
Following the commercial success of “All I Want Is You,” with rather mixed reviews of the other tracks on his debut album, Miguel took a more direct role in the creative process of his sophomore album, titled Kaleidoscope Dream. Differentiating himself from the other R&B stars of the time, Miguel drew on elements of pop, funk, soul, and experimented with electronic and psychedelic music.
In this album, Miguel gets more personal, singing about his own experiences with romance and existentialism. His music reflects a newfound maturity and self–confidence. The album’s top single, “Adorn,” is a catchy, energetic love song that shows off Miguel’s impressive vocal range. On the album’s second second single, “Do You...,” an ethereal feel unfolds full of synth and falsettos. However, on "How Many Drinks" it’s clear that Miguel’s not straying too far from the norms, as he draws on R&B’s classic themes of masculinity and seduction.
After being featured on Mariah Carey’s "#Beautiful" in 2013, Miguel solidified his stardom. Over those next few years, Miguel was featured on albums by J. Cole, Janelle Monae and Mac Miller.
In 2015, Miguel released his highly anticipated third album Wildheart, returning with the same cross–genre exploration seen in his previous album. On this album, Miguel strays even farther from his classic R&B roots, using synthy beats and guitar riffs to embody psychedelic rock and new wave. As for the content of the album, Miguel again explores sexuality, but in a way that Pitchfork describes as “sex–positive” rather than “sex–obsessed.”
On “What’s Normal Anyway,” Miguel explores complex themes of alienation, normalcy, morality and race. The song "Waves" is an energetic, perfect summer song which, later remixed by Tame Impala, achieved immense success. The last track on the album, “Face The Sun,” featuring legendary rock star Lenny Kravitz, is full of love, lust and soulful vocals. Overall, Miguel is able to perfectly balance a wide array of themes and sounds in this album.
His latest album, War & Leisure, which he'll most likely draw from for his upcoming Fling performance, is no different. As the title suggests, Miguel explores both love and political themes, contemplating today’s society. On top of that, Miguel maintains an overall positive and upbeat vibe.
“Sky Walker,” a refreshingly upbeat and refreshing song that features Travis Scott, is one of his most successful tracks to date. On “Caramelo Duro,” Miguel digs into his heritage with his first predominately Spanish song featuring Latina singer Kali Uchis. On “Banana Clip,” Miguel interweaves political commentary onto this lush love song. Miguel tackles each topic and track masterfully on this album, with the help of a few famous friends. His music has never been better, and, this Spring Fling, we’re lucky to be witnessing it.
Songs to play on repeat before Fling: "Come Through And Chill," "Sky Walker (feat. Travis Scott)," "Sure Thing," and "waves (Tame Impala Remix)"