Miguel Kaleidoscope Dream

MiguelKaleidoscope Dream
For singer/songwriter Miguel to create a straight up R&B album (in today's musical climate, no less), putting forth a specific creative vision that manages to transcend the hip-hop pop swill presently produced by his so-called R&B brethren, yet avoid coming off as pretentious is a crowning achievement in and of itself. (The fact that the 11-track project actually warrants Best of Year discussion is nearly a moot point.) After operating on the underground R&B fringes with the poorly marketed and criminally overlooked Sure Thing in 2010, Kaleidoscope Dream goes for broke. The best track, hands down, is "Adorn," a Marvin Gaye-esque '80s electro soul throwback and instant new Quiet Storm staple. What impresses is his ability to meld various influences — Euro-soul and psychedelic, Prince-inspired pop — into a wholly authentic and personal project. "Don't Look Back" incorporates elements of Zombies classic "Time of the Season," the title track recalls a lost Brothers Johnson track, while "Use Me" is sexual electricity personified. While there are a couple of overly indulgent outings ("How Many Drinks," "Pussy is Mine"), Kaleidoscope Dream is a statement that Miguel has arrived. (Universal)