The Grammy-winning, Mexican-American heartthrob Miguel Jontel Pimentel is undeniably Latino — but as an R&B star who sings in English, he’s rarely counted among the league of Latin pop stars pervading American airwaves.
Yet that perception would change in 2017, after Miguel joined Mexican pop singer Natalia Lafourcade in a heartrending rendition of the Coco theme song, “Remember Me.” Miguel would push the bounds even further that year by flexing his Spanish-language skills in the jaunty funk-rock “Caramelo Duro“: a cut off his album War & Leisure, which features vocals by Colombian-American songstress Kali Uchis.
Now, two years later, it’s only fitting that Miguel releases Te Lo Dije: a five-song Spanglish tribute to his bilingual fanbase. Christened after his buoyant 2017 hit, “I Told You So,” his new EP features artists from across the Spanish-speaking popverse: He resurges his original duet with Kali Uchis, and beckons Madrid rapper C. Tangana to spit verses in “Criminal.” Meanwhile the all-female mariachi band, Flor de Toloache, suffuse the title track with a brass-laden bachata infusion, intricate harmonies and heaps of loving cariño. When Miguel goes solo in the slinky “Banana Clip” and ethereal bop “Skywalker,” he finesses every high and low with the utmost cool.
“Crazy,” wrote Miguel in a recent press release, “I think I like these songs better in Spanish”; and listeners both old and new, foreign and stateside, may have to agree. Te Lo Dije is a vivid, kaleidoscopic peek into Miguel’s technicolor Chicano soul.
Popular on Rolling Stone
Te Lo Dije is out now on all streaming services.