To appreciate the full impact of Miguel crooning “these lips can’t wait to taste your skin” and “these eyes can’t wait to see your grin” on “Adorn,” you have to do what we did: Go online and immerse yourself in this 1982 clip of a tuxedoed Marvin begging, “Baby, I’m hot just like an oven, I need some lovin’ ” on “Sexual Healing.”
Thirty years and (for now) a couple Grammys separate the icon’s certified classic from the upstart’s chart-topping, late-summer heater, but from the wailing falsettos to the perfectly executed vocal climaxes to the oh-so-tender lyrical plays, it’s hard not to think the Cali native might soon be collecting royalties for our generation’s answer to that lights-out cut.
But if it’s surprising that the 25-year-old inching toward Gaye’s trophy case is the same guy who stayed enigmatic to many fans even after a string of rap hooks and radio hits — check all the head-scratching Prince comparisons — just understand that the boy had time to cook. He chucked the deuces to the record label’s shiny packaging and just got comfortable in his skin. The result? A sophomore record exploding with genre-defying soul like “Adorn.” Call it the Second Coming of Miguel.
So when he stopped by the MTV Newsroom last week, we asked him to build with us on a few of our favorite tracks from his brand-new Kaleidoscope Dream. (He was charming and a little naughty but definitely insightful — click the video or read on to hear him in his own words.)
” ‘Kaleidoscope Dream,’ the title track, is like the mission statement of my life. It would be the sonic definition of the moods of my lifestyle.
“And I think all the textures, be it the live strings, we actually hired, this is the first time I ever had an orchestra on one of my songs; an amazing, amazing experience to arrange and to be a part of, from playing on the song, all of that drum loop in the sample — it’s a very noticeable sample [Eminem's 'My Name Is']. It’s hip-hop, it’s classic rock in moments, it’s experimental in moments; it gets really beautiful and then it gets very dark, and I guess that’s the juxtaposition of my personality.”
“Pu— Is Mine”
“There was a moment in time where I was single and I had a few friends in different places. Just like, you know, when you’re single you’re kinda free to do whatever you want. And I I had really good friends and I was being intimate [with them] and I understood that whoever she was — she probably had friends too. But in that moment of intimacy and the passion and all of that — I’m a Scorpio so I happen to be very passionate — I treat it like it’s mine and I talk to her like it’s mine. So in those moments of power and vulnerability, which is an interesting exchange, I wanna know that it’s mine in that moment. And that’s what the song is all about. I’m sure everyone out there can relate, man or woman.”
“Where’s the Fun in Forever”
“At the time of writing the song, I was in Jamaica for Alicia Keys, and we weren’t inside of a room for the studio. We were on top of a rooftop, so all I had was this amazing blanket of stars in the sky and the sound of waves in the distance, great vibe. … So here I am trying to be creative for Alicia and it just dawned on me: Well, what if we did live forever? Could we have accomplished all of these amazing things? Would we have come so far? Would we have been to the moon? Would we have defined all of the different elements in the world? Would we have come up with all these theories or built all of these amazing, amazing architectural beautiful things … or would we have been lazy?
“And it was in that moment that I was like, ‘F— it, where’s the fun in forever?’ You gotta make the most of it now, and that’s what this song is all about.”