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Tarantino's Thoughts: Miguel - War & Leisure Album Review 

Every once and awhile I have a true fanboy moment. Identical to a kid on Christmas eve, I found myself eagerly waiting until the aura of sleep overcame my childlike desire to watch the clock strike 12 am (or 11pm in most cases for an album), officially bringing in the big day. Certainly, we are weeks away from Christmas; but for all the little fan boys and girls across the land, Christmas unquestionably came early in the form of an album. Up before the sun, overwhelmed with joy; I promptly browsed Apple Music to unwrap the gift I’ve been waiting for all year…War & Leisure the 12 track album by the R&B crooner Miguel.



War ready, War & Leisure opens similar to a Quentin Tarantino movie with Criminal feat. Rick Ross. Visuals of Sin City fill my mind with vigilantees submerged in their war zones of lost love, Miguel cries:

“Got a mind full of TNT, I need a lunatic just like me.  Paint the sky with a brush fire …”


The soloist delivers dark sentiments smothered in guitar riffs and drum patterns, rescuing his lady (and listener), exclaiming:

“I just want someone that I can trust, Baby is that you? Is that us? … Though I’m dangerous … it’s so good it feels criminal … This shit’s gotta be criminal”.


Ditching the complexity of useless words, the singer establishes his position backed by an ally, as Ross moves the track forward with a fleet of lyrics that saves his depicted damsel in distress.

Pineapple skies 

Theme intact, Pineapple Skies feels as good as a hero returning home. Taking me on a colorful acid (like) trip, Miguel belts out soulful runs over reassuring harmonies asserting,


“Are the trees high enough, baby? Leave you so high your feet won’t touch the ground. Would you look up, baby? It’s pineapple purple skies … Promise everything gon’ be alright”.  


Traces of Adorn and Latch (Google Disclosure if need be) sprinkled over the track. My body escapes into a kaleidoscope dream, drowning in endless adventure, Miguel moonwalks through. An easy favorite that I, alongside El Debarge (obvious homage paid on those spectacular runs), will appreciate for years to come.

Sky Walker


Riding his own wave, Sky Walker feat. Travis Scott keeps my vibrant trip going, blending an unlikely pair. Complimentary, Miguel & Scott embody the character of Luke Skywalker (and Scott Pilgrim … In my mind) fulfilling their destinies of the chosen one (and 2).

Taking vibrations to new levels, both rapper and singer have fun trading underlying melodies that captivate the close listener, giving out hippie oomph that triggers my mental standing ovation.    

Banana Clip

Back to business, reminiscent of 80’s dance music; Banana Clipranks high on my list of personal favorites. Awakening every feel I’ve experienced in love, Miguel is my personal counselor. Unbeknownst to me, perfectly executing every soft affectionate note, was shock therapy ridding negative samskaras.   

“There’s a war on love just look around you. It’s hard to know who to trust, I’m glad I found you …"

Four tracks in, Miguel dumps wordy conversations for passionate reminders of love, with roaring vocals to match.  



Pleasurably feeding on his prey, Wolf feat. Quin colors shades of grey, ferociously howling:


“I gotta feed my appetite, so you can run but you can’t hide.  Scream for more … Every breath cuts just like a knife, down your neck and down your spine. I love the taste of your flesh, woman.”.


Likening himself to the wolf on a full moon, Miguel gives us a peek inside his mind; creating a world of fairy tale-esque stories, transformed into an unadulterated sex playlist. Not holding it against him, the artist once again leaves me in a world of wonder to the power he holds as a gifted writer.


Much like his predecessors (Prince & Jimi), liberation takes on a mood of erotica by way of Haram.  Continued as extended play for a 5 minute (sexy) quickie, Haram gives me life while Miguel channels the late (great) Prince Nelson, singing light as a feather:


“Let me Pollinate your Mind …".


Doing no wrong, the singer takes final form as a Rock & Roll god among gods; keeping me on the edge of my bed, in awe, at what he could possibly do next. My psyche screams classic making it halfway through perfection.      

Told You So

I can’t help but feel Miguel is a man possessed.  The passing of Prince Rodgers Nelson in April of 2016 triggered purple tears from every stan.  Haunted by his ghost, I Told You So pays musical homage in the form of liberation.


To be fair, it has always felt like freedom was something Miguel experienced (Pussy Is Mine, What’s Normal Anyway, Girl With The Tattoo Enter.Lewd, Adorn … shall I go on?), but darkened by outside forces. This new found freedom feels secure, unfazed by the chatters of what the people may think.  


This version of liberation Miguel explores, characterized as sin,– “I Know you feel the devil speak on my tongue, As long as you don’t forget where all your pleasure came from”– is embraced, poured into the music forcing you to dance.

City Of Angels

Filled with rage, City of Angels takes me back into a mythical warzone. Miguel takes on the role of an eyewitness reporter chanting:


“Fighter Jets over my city, cool contrails in the sky. It’s breaking news all over tv, we were hit by surprise…We won the war but not a day goes by that I don’t think I shoulda been with you.”

The album becomes a hectic yet enjoyable emotional roller coaster ride, but in no way does the skillful writer lose my attention. Sparking my imagination with every movie reel of a song, City of Angels does nonetheless.


Caramelo Duro


Caramelo Duro created obsession. First, I wanted to know what the hell it meant (s/o to my translators). Second, I had a thought of why is he so passionate about candy? (I wish I could use my favorite thinking emoji lol). Thoughts aside, I dug deep,

“Now and Later, hourglass, sour patch. Put that pink starburst on my brain, running through your candylane.”


Soon becoming clear on what Miguel eluded to, I understood why the English language created descriptive limitations in this celebratory anthem (and I loved it).

Come Through And Chill

Shifting the pace yet again, the songwriter taps longtime collaborator J. Cole (a match made in Rap/R&B collab heaven) on the sultry (updated) record, Come Through and Chill.  The pair deliver their version of 2017’s All I want Is You circa 2010.  

Cole comes as a last minute add (or at least a pleasant surprise weeks before the album dropped), delivering a brash contrast to their duet on Miguel’s debut album (maybe he wrote his first verse with the idea of an “all I wanted was you but now that I’m popping let me tell you what you’ve been missing” vibe). Adding a fine finishing touch to an already polished record, Cole and Miguel put on a seductive showcase of lyricism.



Coming to a close, Miguel worships on Anointed, yet again showing off his perfect form; mastering the art of sex, love, and rock & roll over 808’s. The record bleeds passion, while the artist depicts man and woman in their state of nature.  


“Lay your face on the pillow, push the covers where they belong. I can’t take my eyes off you, we both know what we came here for…Cause your body’s’ ready for war, and my body’s built to endure.”  

Feeling Godly, Miguel damn near speaks in tongues while he worships his woman, and I can’t help but to show gratitude for the potential love that will be made to this bedroom must (Thank you).




Finishing strong, Now plays as a much-needed political Q&A. Miguel sings of social ills (Puerto Rico, Houston, Flint, Standing Rock, and New Orleans), giving a powerful voice to the voiceless. As I sit with closed eyes, “We are the look of freedom” gives way to thoughts of Martin, Malcolm, Huey, and Angela Davis; Freedom fighters who paved the way for us. Now, services as a reminder of who we are, and what we have been through, that encompass our DNA with strength. The record closes War & Leisure on such a high note, that I only wish it didn’t have to end so soon.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps his most important album to date, War & Leisure showcases certainty. Certainty in his words, voice, style, and message. Even when Miguel serenades us with acts of lust, he does so with maturity and lyrical prose. Four albums in, Miguel masters his eclectic genre. Affirming his political stance like the true predecessor of Kravitz, Hendrix, and Price he’s become. The songwriter shows off the power of his pen throughout the entirety of the album, vocally slaying with devotion. War & Leisure is simply raw emotion in its’ purest form. Even when the lyrics become a bit complicated, Miguel forces you to feel, every vocal inflection speaking to the heart and soul; this is what great music does.  In a league of his own, Miguel delivers a classic; a breath of fresh air in a drowning environment. He bears his flag of freedom loud and clear, stamping War & Leisure in the history books forever.    


Peace & Love,

N. Tarantino

(Darnell Schoolfield)

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