Miguel – War & Liesure
Production Rating: 8/10
- Criminal: The producer on this is credited as Miguel but we’re led to believe a little ghost production was done by contributing songwriter Dave Sitek. Starting the album off on an indie-rock vibe, reminiscent of production Mutemath incorporated on their Oddsoul LP. Adding to the trend of most songs where Rick Ross is a featuring artist, the beat is stripped down to a more mood fitting for his bawse talk.
- Pineapple Skies: Airy synths, bass guitar, and snaps carry this groove to the category of feel-good music. The quality of production is the perfect combination of producers Detail, Salaam Remi and Sidney Swift. No complaints here at all..
- Skywalker: This beat had to grow on me. I’ll personally admit the beat isn’t nothing to jump up for, but the hook written and harmonies complete the Happy Perez sound-bed in a way you have no choice but to light up and enjoy. Here at BeatsPM we’re huge advocates for beat transitions and the pad-infused/pitched down snare go together like PB and J.
- Banana Clip: The eery lead mixed with the electric guitar and bass caught my attention instantly. With mentions of extendo clips, M-16s. and being trigger happy, this track plays into the War aspect of the album’s vision. Vocal arrangement has never been an area of improvement for Miguel as he, for first time since hitting play, displays his impeccable range.
- Wolf: The drum programming on this track stood out immediately. The Raphael Saadiq produced single reminded us of his signature distorted vocal and gritty guitar work on ‘Stone Rollin’ LP. We’re here for it..(plays track again)
- Harem: Arguably my favorite track thus far. It’s one thing to have an infectious melodic guitar-riff but with the drums hitting you in the chest & Miguel riding the beat effortlessly, I couldn’t help to put this in the BeatsPM Club Playlist. This album is finding it’s lane in his discography for a fact. Happy Perez quickly redeemed himself with this one, sheesh.
- Told You So: What does the fun-upbeat-80s Synth ‘Paranoid‘ by Kanye West, ‘Uptown Funk‘ by Bruno Mars, and ‘Told You So’ have in common? The gifted Jeff Bhasker. Not many can recreate the retro vibes from the past as well as Jeff. It does have commercial appeal which further proves why this is the next single being pushed by Miguel’s team.
- City of Angels: Punchy drums over a distorted guitar riff. Not much to critique here. Moving along..
- Caramelo Duro: Upon pressing play I noticed a familiar chord progression. I continued listening and couldn’t put my finger on it, THEN it hit me. This is basically Calvin Harris “Feels” beat but at a slower BPM. Though I’m not a big fan of unoriginality, I’ll say nice interpolation, Steve Mostyn.
- Come Through and Chill: I’ve been a fan of this Salaam Remi produced track since it was released via Miguel’s Soundcloud last year sans J. Cole. The guitar riff alone screams chill and adding Cole World to the mix makes this a standout track from the album.
- Anointed: Wow..Outside of Sky Walker, this is the second track with 808s embedded in the beat on this album. This is shocking, and above all else, good to see. Not to mention Wyclef’s right-hand man, Jerry Duplessis aka Wonda, does a great job in not overdoing the drum programming. Solid track overall.
- Now: Ending the album on a political note, Happy Perez & Black Francis (from the band Pixies) helps Miguel bring his lyrics to life. The pads add a nice touch before bringing in drums reminiscent of Ye’s MBDTF.
War & Leisure does not disappoint on the production side. Being a musician himself, Miguel has always had a keen ear for picking top crop instrumentation & creative team. While singing about the joys his riches bring, he hasn’t lost his awareness of the ills that pollute the world. For that, there’s nothing but respect from me. Stay woke or whatever..
Written by BeePeeEm