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Twenty-five year old R&B singer/songwriter Miguel joins singer Frank Ocean in an elite league ushering in the new hipster/eclectic R&B movement. Miguel channels Prince on 2012's excellent Kaleidoscope Dream in which the songwriting is superb, the production unique, and Miguel's pipes soar. Kaleidoscope Dream follows up 2010's All I Want Is You, which was brought to a wider audience thanks to no. 1 R&B single "Sure Thing." Led by no. 1 R&B single "Adorn," and continuing promotion through second single "Do You," Kaleidoscope Dream is nothing short of a `treat.'

Opener "Adorn" mixes 80's sensibilities and soulful cues. Miguel's vocals are beautiful characterized by superb nuance and killer falsetto. The songwriting is chivalrous and thoughtful, with the chorus being a highlight: "You just gotta let my love...adorn you...know that I adore you/just that, baby). Overall "Adorn" is nothing sort of excellence epitomized.

"Don't Look Back" features more top-notch production including keyboard synth pads and dusty drum programming. Vocally, Miguel to allure with irresistible falsetto. The valedictory songwriting is capped off by a notable chorus: "If I (If I), Don't make it back before the sun (the sun)/all you have to do is run (run)/just promise you'll run (run) and don't look back...and promise me you'll run..." An outro, lifting off classic "Time of the Season" closes cleverly.

"Use Me" remains consistent and notable for excellent songwriting form. The production is busy, dusty, and mysterious, with eclectic sensibilities. Miguel passionately croons "And every wall I built up/has come crashing down/don't the waves pull the sand/don't the moon pull the tide baby..." Miguel is incredibly sensual here.

Second single "Do You" opens with an inquiring Miguel: "Do you like drugs?" His questions continue ("...Have you ever felt alone/do you believe in love") prior to the chorus ("But do you like drugs...Yeah, well me you like love?... Yeah well me too..." Slated in neo-soul idiom, rhythmic electric guitar carries the groove before pummeling drums and a fat bass line `hold it down.' Nothing short of exceptional.

On "Kaleidoscope Dream," Miguel and Salaam Remi work together establishing a production that is unapologetically retro in quality (Labi Shiffre is sampled). Miguel's vocals are exceptional, particularly the harmonized portions. Well written, the portion including lyrics "Yeah, body language like piano keys/allow me to provoke thee/like you sing a melody/every single stroke baby..." is nothing short of clever. Proceeding cut "The Thrill" is solid if eclipsed by the heaviest of hitters. More infused with Miguel's pop/rock influence, it effectively contrasts more the more soulful-leanings of "Do You" or "Adorn."

"How Many Drinks" adds some contemporary swag, perhaps most confirmed by its 808 thuds. Miguel's falsetto and assured vocal nuances continue to allure. The songwriting ditches chivalrous fare in favor of the sensual, but Miguel pulls it off incredibly well, particularly the spoken-word bridge. On the Alicia Keys co-written "Where's The Fun in Forever," the drums are indicative of the hip hop-soul idiom. Additionally a heavily compressed bass line buttresses providing a firm foundation. Miguel's vocals are incredibly overt, particularly on the memorable chorus: "Tomorrow's just a day away yea/tomorrow's just a day away...and tomorrow isn't promised/where's the fun in forever? Celebrate!"

"Arch & Point" couples pop and soul with prominent use of guitar and humongous clapping drums. Miguel keeps up his sensual persona: "Yeah baby, you know I don't suppose/oh that every good girl know, yeah/oh all that every bad girl know/baby arch your back and point your toes..." He's more overt on "P***y is Mine," perhaps Miguel's most salacious showing. That said, Miguel's ode is more subdued than one would expect for such a liberal title. Miguel is accompanied by electric guitar, the occasional synth, and conservative 808. Closing cut "Candles in the Sun" opts for a socially conscious direction, appropriate given its placement.

Overall, Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream is easily one of the year's BEST albums. There are no misses and no notable flaws ultimately. Like Frank Ocean's exceptional channel ORANGE Miguel has more than exceeded expectations; This is a REAL R&B album.
11 comment40 of 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 2, 2012
"Adorn" - Beautiful falsetto notes. Contemporary radio R&B classic. 5 stars.
"Don't Look Back" - Not fond of the chorus but other than that the song is solid. 3.75 stars.
"Use Me" - Great almost mechanical beat. Feels busy. 4.5 stars.
"Do You..." - Has a unique beat and speaks on special stuff a potential lover has in common with the other. Isn't really explicit other than the lyrics, "Do you like drugs" repeated. 5 stars.
"Kaleidoscope Dream" - Has a sample of Labi Siffre's "I Got The..." which Eminem also sampled for his song "My Name Is". It mentions the song name a lot yet the production is pretty dreamy which is intended. 4 stars.
"The Thrill" - Features soft guitar strums and pretty vocals. 4.25 stars.
"How Many Drinks?" - A neat song. A light feeling track that boasts nice production values. 4.25 stars.
"Where's The Fun In Forever?" - Decent. Alicia Keys co-wrote here. 4 stars.
"Arch & Point" - I think it's safe to say it's one of the most sexual tracks on the album. 4.25 stars.
"Puss* Is Mine" - Surprisingly, this one is acoustic. Just Miguel and a guitar. 4.25 stars.
"Candles In The Sun" - This track has a unique beat you might have to get used to. But if you think about it this is the first track that Miguel has made with some real substance. It wonders about the possibility of God and talks of life issues. 4.5 stars.

Let's win some Grammys this upcoming year, Mr. Miguel Pimentel!

47.75 ÷ 11 = 4.340

4.3 stars.

Edit (6/17/13): And he did! Grammy award for Best R&B song ("Adorn"). I'm really proud of him because since his first single "All I Want Is You" was featured on iTunes for the free single of the week (before it got popular) I've loved his music. He deserves it!
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on October 2, 2012
Miguel returns with his second album "Kaleidoscope Dream", and this album lives up to the hype. The R&B game has been watered down for some time now and some of our favorites like (Usher, Chris Brown, Etc.) have been going the Euro Pop, Dubstep ,Techno route and I understand that and no disrespect to them at all but none of that is on here and that's the good thing, Miguel didn't play follow the leader of the popular sound of today, he did the R&B that's been absent in the mainstream. Earlier in the year he released his free "Art Dealer Chick EP" series which included "Adorn", "Arch & Point", and "Candles In The Sun" and those songs still hold up good despite being released months ahead of time. He shows growth and proves he deserves to put in the category with the best R&B acts that's out with songs like "Don't Look Back", "Do You...",etc... you can tell he was inspired by the legendary Prince. Alicia Keys appears on "Where's the Fun in Forever?", making her the only guest appearance on here, and we get great production from " Salaam Remi, Jerry Wonda, The Phatboiz, Pop & Oak, J. Milla, and Miguel himself. People have been complaining about the state of R&B, well here's the album we all been waiting on. He kept it short at 11 tracks, and I'd rather hear a 11 track album without filler than a 18 track album with a lot of filler. I definitely recommend this. 4.5 Stars
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on October 4, 2012
When it comes to Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream, believe the hype. This is an incredible album. Miguel's first album All I Want Is You was good, but this is so much better. The songs are all awesome, the flow is more cohesive...this album is on point. In a time where most artists are more concerned with making hit singles, Miguel has went against the grain and made an entire listenable album. Go ahead and do yourself a favor and buy yourself 10 copies of this album. One for your house, one for your car, one to replace your old copy when it gets too scratched up from you overplaying it, and seven extra copies for the people who are going to steal your copy once you play it for them. Kaleidoscope Dream is a future classic, no doubt about it. Don't sleep on this album, buy yourself a copy now.
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on October 19, 2012
Miguel grabbed my attention with songs like "All I Want is You" and "Sure Thing" along with his feature on Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb". Unfortunately I wasn't impressed with his first album. When Adorn was released, I knew that I wanted to give the entire album a listen. Without a doubt, Kaleidoscope Dream far exceeds his first CD on celestial levels. A fusion of Prince influences, colorful lyrics, and top notch production makes for the strongest R&B release of 2012. Not since Trey Songz' release of Ready have I been able to play an album without skipping any of the tracks.

A Few Notable lyrics by song:

Adorn - "Baby these fists will always protect ya

Use Me - "Sensation... as I place my tongue on your lips"

Kaleidoscope Dream - "I taste you in infinite colors, collide in a fountain..."

Arch & Point - "See rhythm is a art, it cannot be taught"
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on October 15, 2012
When Miguel first became visible to the masses, it was on the critically acclaimed album from Blu & Exile "Below The Heavens". He made notable appearances on the songs "First Things First", "Cold Hearted" and "You Are Now In The Clouds With...". From there, he established himself as a songwriter behind the scenes. He co-wrote the Musiq Soulchild duet with Mary J. Blige "Ifuleave" as well as Jaheim's "Finding My Way Back" and "Monstar" from Usher's post-divorce album "Raymond V. Raymond". This lead him to a recording contract with Jive Records, where he would release his formal debut "All I Want Is You". The album landed popular singles such as the J. Cole assisted title track and the follow-ups "Sure Thing" and "Quickie". By the time he released the fourth single "Girls Like You", Miguel's label Jive Records was folded by its parent company Sony Music Entertainment, which moved him to RCA Records for his sophomore album "Kaleidoscope Dream".

While "All I Want Is You" was clearly inspired by the R&B music of the late 90's, Miguel decides to reach back even farther on his sophomore effort. This time around, he takes cues and inspiration from the 1980's synthesized electro-funk R&B. Returning for this album is Salaam Remi who produces the song "How Many Drinks" as well as the title track "Kaleidoscope Dream". The latter song uses a sample of Labi Siffre's "I Got The"- the same sample behind Eminem's "My Name Is". Also returning is the production team Fisticuffs who produced the rock guitar heavy "Arch & Point", as well as Happy Perez on the synth heavy "Don't Look Back" which ends with a barely noticeable cover of The Zombies' song "Time Of The Season". "Use Me" and "Where's The Fun In Forever" get production from the duo Oak & Pop (best known for their work with Elle Varner and Big Sean). Miguel gets sensual on the first single on "Adorn" and tries his hand at social commentary on "Candles In The Rain". Overall, Miguel's "Kaleidoscope Dream" is an outstanding sophomore release from the singer-songwriter. Not many people can surpass a remarkable debut, but he has quickly proven to be an exception to the rule.
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on October 2, 2012
People need to stop sleeping on Miguel, this dude is on his way to the top. I listened to this whole album from start to finish and it's already on replay! My favorite songs are Do You, Adorn, and How Many Drinks...but really I love every song on this CD. It is definitely better than his first CD. For everybody who have been waiting for some real R&B music, well here it is. This is a MASTERPIECE!
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on August 13, 2013
I was disappointed with this CD. I love, love, love the song Adorn, but the rest of the songs sound as if someone else is signing them. Guess I thought it would be more thematic. But, I'm still a Miguel fan!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 2, 2012
"Kaleidoscope Dream" finds R&B crooner Miguel showing off different shades and patterns to his music. Soulful vocals against trippy arrangements taking sudden obtuse turns, recalling Shuggie Otis, Prince, Marvin Gaye, or even Andre 3000 in parts.

Opening is the hit single "Adorn", a gently pulsing number with lovely harmonies and Miguel doing vocal acrobatics. "Don't Look Back" is an experimental tempo shifting piece (from a shuffle to Disco) with an awesome slowed-down bubbly falsetto-sung coda. "Use Me" is a shimmery midtempo groove. The guitar-driven "Do You..." features interesting cascading vocal arrangements.

The title track samples Labi Siffre's "I Got The..." (also sampled for Eminem's "My Name Is") and is a dreamy falsetto-sung number with echoey effects and faint electric guitars. "The Thrill" is a spare-sounding guitar-driven number with interesting percussion patterns. The beautiful "How Many Drinks" sets dreamy harmonies to a groovy bass line with a brief rap. "Where's The fun In Forever" with Alicia Keys is Jazz-meets-Blues-meets-Hip Hop.

"Arch & Point" sets guitars to a hesitant beat. "P***y" Is Mine"is just electric guitars and vocals and is (despite the raw title) a rather vulnerable and lovely ballad. Closing is the meandering ballad "Candles In The Sun" which finds him asking "Is there a God? is He watching? Is She watching?" and takes a look at humanity's search for answers.

An album laden with thought, heart, and skill, up there with Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange"; a masterpiece!
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on October 13, 2012
I saw this had a very favorable review on pitchfork, but didn't bother to check into it cause I'm not a huge R&B fan. A friend of mine texted me, strongly recommending I give it a listen. I'm so happy that I did. This is a truly excellent collection of some catchy, slightly dark and very interesting R&Bish tunes. The songs feel heavy, with lots of interesting production, and with some very nice melodies. It makes absolutely no difference whether you're interested in this sort of thing; I mostly listen to alternative, but this is just so irresistible. My favorite song is tied between Don't Look Back and Arch and Point. Overall, a very strong album.
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