Three years after his second album hit shelves, Miguel finally has figured out the tight rope that modern R&B artists must walk with every song they put out; how do I retain the sensuality of emotion while keeping everything commercially acceptable? Unlike many of his contemporaries Miguel, real name Miguel Jontel Pimentel, never fully embraced the drugged out and hazy aesthetic that dominates R&B stars like PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jeremih and Trey Songz, electing instead to forge his own way. On his latest studio album, he does nothing short of that.

Wildheart dares listeners to try and pigeonhole it by assigning it a genre; “the valley” grooves electronic and has lines like “I’m your pimp, I’m your Pope, I’m your pastor baby/confess your sins to me while you masturbate” but is followed by “coffee,” a standard love song where Miguel sings “I wish we could paint our love/These moments and vibrant hues.”

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It’s the first archetype that Wildheart seems to fit into and is an out of character moment for the singer who spends most of the album trying to not sound like others. Throughout the album percussion arrangements change from bar to bar and guitar riffs backtrack many songs for the silky smooth lothario to ply his trade. “Wave” is a funky distorted recall affair that practically bullies listeners into gyration, followed up by two of the more trite songs in “what’s normal anyway” and “Hollywood Dreams.”

The album in all is remarkable in that the only real sonic thread tying any of the songs together is Miguel. Most of the tracks are self produced and it shows; the artist is acutely aware of his range and what parts of the song he should overpower to become the central focus.

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