Wildheart - Rolling Stone
Home Music Album Reviews


The R&B innovator’s steamy new journey wrestles with modern love


Daniel Sannwald

With “Adorn,” 2012’s sexiest slow jam, Miguel emerged as a mohawk-pompadoured futurist, as rooted in past innovators like Marvin Gaye as in 21st-century production — a soul man with no “neo-” required. Wildheart is an even bolder move: an intoxicating master class in electro-porn R&B — the coin of the modern genre — that’s also a soul-searching critique of same. It’s a necessary record that should generate plenty of thought, and more than a few babies, too.

What does it mean when Miguel croons about wanting to “fuck you like I hate you” in “The Valley,” a psychedelic groove trip whose title is both sexual metaphor and explicit nod to the adult-film-biz capital of Southern California? Repellent yet inescapably hot, the song questions the ways the porn industry has warped modern sexuality. “Coffee” is a playful breakfast-in-bed tune; the f-bombing single version is cleaned up here and notably sexier for it, a musical “show, don’t tell” demonstration. The most emotionally explicit moment comes in “What’s Normal Anyway,” a misfit prom anthem for anyone interrogating his or her own identity (“Too black for the Mexicans/Too square to be a hood nigga”). Not every song goes so deep, and Miguel might be accused of wanting to have his cake here and eat it too. Well, who doesn’t?

Popular on Rolling Stone

In This Article: Miguel


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.