Miguel really wants you to know he’s a bad boy.
In fact, there’s so much sex and hedonism being spaffed out of War & Leisure that it might even be safe to say his nearest competitor might be Tove Lo. Except when she relates tales of late-night romps it sounds quite fresh and exciting even three albums later; for poor old Miguel, we’re happy just to watch from afar rather than get involved. Well, watch from afar, get bored quickly, and go seek enjoyment elsewhere.
The main reason for that is that even Miguel doesn’t seem convinced or excited by what he’s selling. Whether he’s looking for a partner-in-crime he ‘can’t trust’ on Criminal or yelping through Pineapple Skies, something about this feels more like a cling on to fading youth than the heady genesis of trouble anew.
It’s bloody hard to place Miguel these days though. He doesn’t strand strong enough for funk-soul, his hop-hop tropes on Sky Walker are dull, and it’s only when he draws out his simpler R&B-pop side (Banana Clip, Told You So) where Miguel truly shows some of that electrifying personality we know him for.
But too much of War & Leisure passes by without incident, background music that only serves to irritate or convince straight men they’re fonts of sexual prowess after they’ve had a few. Except seduction falls flat on Wolf, Come Through and Chill is about as enticing as its title, and a song called Harem has no right to be as sexless as it is. In the end it’s just a detriment to Miguel himself that he calls the album War & Leisure – two big concepts, squandered in a thoroughly dissatisfying and aural equivalent of premature ejaculation.