From the album cover to the deep cuts, Miguel's taking artistic risks
  • From the album cover to the deep cuts, Miguel's taking artistic risks
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Warning: listening to Miguel’s Wildheart in mixed company might make you blush.

On his third album, the R&B raconteur advances from 2012’s sultry, Grammy-winning “Adorn” to “the valley,” a triple-X homage to SoCal’s porn capital. And his fascination with the wild thing doesn’t stop there — the Kurupt-assisted “NWA” sounds like Curtis Mayfield’s lovechild while “FLESH” — an overt embodiment of scandalous Prince — is the perfect canvas for Miguel’s come-hither falsetto and languorous guitar.


"Coffee" of Miguel's latest, <em>Wildheart</em> of Miguel's latest, Wildheart

Outside the bedroom, Miguel’s focus shifts to his native Los Angeles. From the live-fast-die-young album opener “a beautiful exit” to the fuzzy guitar-driven “Hollywood Dreams,” about fleeting fame in the City of Angels, the songs aren’t so much hometown tributes as gritty reality checks.

Lead single “Coffee,” percolating over morning-after sex, and a remix of Girls, Vol. 2 soundtrack carryover “Simple Things” (the best of three additional tracks on the 16-song deluxe edition) are the album’s commercial high-water marks, but Wildheart’s less obvious hits also deserve a listen — such as “face the sun,” which begins with Miguel’s breathy vocals in an echo chamber and builds to a “Beautiful Ones” frenzy until climaxing with a blistering rock guitar solo courtesy of Lenny Kravitz.

Not everything on Wildheart works (you can skip the overcomplicated “DEAL,” the drum-heavy assault of “damned,” and the repetitive “leaves”), but the provocative album succeeds in revealing the risk-taking artist and not just the hit-maker in Miguel.

Miguel brings his Wildheart tour to Observatory North Park on September 1.

  • Album: Wildheart — Deluxe Edition
  • Artist: Miguel
  • Label: RCA
  • Songs: (1) a beautiful exit (2) DEAL (3) the valley (4) Coffee (5) NWA feat. Kurupt (6) waves (7) what’s normal anyway (8) Hollywood Dreams (9) …goingtohell (10) FLESH (11) leaves (12) face the sun feat. Lenny Kravitz (13) gfg (14) destinado a morir (15) Simple Things (16) damned
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