During the run-up to his second full-length, R&B polymath Miguel pre-released many of its songs piecemeal, through both his free online EP series Art Dealer Chic, and his label’s pair of “official” three-song teasers (subtitled The Water Series and The Air Series). But even with those sneak peeks, the full Kaleidoscope Dream is startling and invigorating, a fully formed statement from an artist hungrily surging toward the front of pop music’s creative pack.
“Adorn,” the erotically charged opening track, first single, and (yes!) radio hit, kicks us off, flaunting a sizable debt to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” Yet its details — like the off-kilter vocal echoes and buried-in-the-mix synth bursts — ground it firmly in the present day. And Miguel’s vocal bravado certainly enhances the song’s seductive properties: He lets loose on the coda, bursting out with a delighted ululation that’s either an all-in attempt to seal the deal with his desired, or an expression of delight that said consent has already been given. Or both.