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Miguel's recent output has seen him move further away from the generic R&B that lingers in the charts and between landfill house tracks in nightclubs around the world. Wildheart sees his vision of alt-R&B more realised than ever, although he still falls short of creating a quality cohesive album.

Miguel's early tracks like 'Sure Thing' didn't push any boundaries but did highlight his impressive vocal range and ability to craft memorable hooks. 2012's Kaleidoscope Dream performed well in the charts and was critically acclaimed. Wildheart sees a progression from the pop-leaning singles like 'Adorn' and 'How Many Drinks' to a more eccentric plateau in an attempt to sit aside R&B auteurs Prince and D'Angelo.

'A Beautiful Exit' opens Wildheart with a 'breaking news' broadcast amongst police sirens and guitar power chords. The riffs indicate a distance from the drum machine and synth grooves of his past work. Ending with a refrain of "we're gonna die young" - Miguel immediately disrupts the standard R&B conventions he's occasionally played with.

'DEAL' follows with funky, jittering drums, staccato guitar and loping basslines. This kind of instrumentation wouldn't have sounded out of place on Kendrick's To Pimp A Butterfly. It's a toe tapping, highly produced and well structured track which is all well and good but it misses a focal point to grab onto which proves to be a blessing as it makes following track 'The Valley' all the more powerful with its explicit nature. Did I say explicit? It's explicit. I won't quote the chorus here for fear of blacklisting The 405 on Google. It's the kind of song that could fall into 'My Neck My Back' territory but Miguel makes it work because his opening verse is a brilliant take on the San Fernando valley porn industry. "I'm your pimp, I'm your pope, I'm your pastor baby/ Confess your sins to me while you masturbate/ Shephard Fairey shit, OBEY, like I'm your master babe/ This is art babe, play your part babe, then we all get paid." It's filth but it's not gratuitous.

The opening third of the album is heavily stacked with great tracks and 'Coffee' is the best of the lot. If you're going to do R&B well you need to capture each side of sex and not just the fuckin-in-the-club shtick which permeates the genre. Miguel achieved this four tracks into Wildheart. Musically, the build and release of verse and chorus are spot on and again, lyrically, he nails it with poignant and accurate couplets - "We talk street art and sarcasm/ Crass humour and high fashion."

Although the rest of Wildheart is by no means poor, the high standard set in the opening salvo leaves 'NWA' feeling like a poor interlude. Kurupt is one of two featured artists on the album and is jarringly out of place providing a hip-hop verse which no where near matches the tone or lyrical quality found on the rest of the album. 'Waves' again feels like an interlude and falls into the Miguel-of-old trope of just shouting the chorus along with ad-libs like: "oh yeah, you know it baby, * insert name of song * yeah, yeah, yeah." It's a shame when Miguel opts out likes this as lyrically Wildheart offers so much as a cohesive statement on love, sex and passion.

In an album of raw sexual energy 'What's Normal Anyway', with its stark lyrics over a simple guitar riff and drum machine beat, is beautifully effective. In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Miguel spoke of the importance of the track: "In reality we all feel like an outsider in some way at some point in time. That song is an anchor in the album, because even if people listen to my music and are like, 'OK cool, this is like some sex shit,' that song will bring everyone back to what the real purpose is. It's a harness for myself, too - a reminder of why we do this shit."

The remainder of the album passes by inoffensively, 'FLESH', 'Leaves' and 'Face the Sun' all employ the same breathy falsetto, flirting with funk and reverb tinged vocals/guitars. It's more of the same if you happen to purchase the deluxe edition of Wildheart then you'll find three substandard tracks which should be nowhere near the album. You will however be treated to 'Simple Things' which was originally written for the Girls soundtrack and is fantastic. A criminal omission from the standard tracklisting.

Miguel's intentions have to be applauded. He could have settled into a career in the pop machine, but his mission to create has driven him down an auteur's path. Wildheart is a leap in the right direction but Miguel hasn't shed off all of pop's restrictive trappings just yet.

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