Battle of the Bands

Miguel

Over the last decade, Miguel's established himself as one of R&B's most sonic fabulists, a consummate artist unafraid to follow his impulses wherever they lead him. His fourth studio full-length, War & Leisure, is his most ambitious and stunning project yet, a perfect blend of forward-thinking production and melodic delights that more than embody the duality hinted at in the album's title.

This is Miguel fusing the two halves of his creative id—the restless experimentalist and the crowd-pleasing hit maker that millions of fans adore—to reach a new peak in artistic achievement. Following the mind-blowing and thoroughly sensual Wildheart in 2015, Miguel conceived War & Leisure's twelve pop gems over the course of the last year and a half—a process that allowed him to find himself amidst the increasing chaos of the modern world.

"It's my best way of describing the now," he explains when discussing the album's yin-and-yang title, which reflects the music's focus on the passion and pain of everyday life.

"Anything that's in my conscious world, and what's feeding my subconscious—it's all war and leisure."

"I like challenging my fans by doing things they wouldn't expect me to do—to show them a little more about myself," Miguel states regarding the album's intentions, and throughout War & Leisure he constantly pushes his music in new directions while delivering on the type of serene R&B that his audience has come to expect.

And exploring such darkness wouldn't be possible without the balance of light struck on War & Leisure—a thorough exploration of self, which is exactly how Miguel wants it to be.

"It's about pushing forward and being who you are," he meditates on the album's true philosophical center. "The intention is to stay upbeat and positive in the face of everything. I'm standing in the middle, just like everyone else is, looking out—just wanting to maintain a positive outlook and continue with my way of life, all the while being mindful about what's really happening."

"The best thing we can do is continue fighting our own personal wars that we have to deal with every day," he continues. "The more we do it, the more natural it becomes and the more likely we're able to share that energy with each other."

And there's no better soundtrack for the battles we fight every day—in hopes of bringing us closer together— than War & Leisure.