Miguel, in his fourth studio album War & Leisure, is able to mix together varied themes, as politics, human rights, freedom, pleasure, sex and love, while never losing consistency or failing to portrait his personality. Sounds and vibes are variegated too: from funk and upbeat rhythms, as in Told You So, to latin jam, as in Caramelo Duro (mostly in Spanish), through R&B and soul.
In Why Walker (feat Travis Scott), one of the singles which anticipated the album release, Miguel explores new styles and his personality and portraits his view on life: if you believe in something, just go for it (Good things come to those that wait up / But don’t wait to jump in too long). Miguel combines politics, love and lust in City of Angles, comparing is being away while Los Angeles was falling apart in a fictional scenario to current politics. The album is beautifully closed by Now, a track that while portraying relevant and pressing problems in the United States, it evokes hope for the future. The song starts with a clear reference to Donald Trump (CEO of the free world now / Build your walls up high and wide), and it then continues by celebrating freedom (Make it rain to keep them out / That won’t change what we are inside). At the same time, the idea of freedom is questioned in the chorus (Is that the look of freedom, now? / Is that the sound of freedom, now?).
The main critics is that in part of the songs Miguel fails to build up focal moments or highlights, producing tracks that potentially sound too regular and plain. Overall, War & Leisure is a representation of Miguel’s feelings, concerns and hopes. Each song is characterised by overlapping layers of vocals which while adding more depth, sometimes may result chaotic.