Miguel wraps up his fantastic Art Dealer Chic EP trilogy with a particularly rich installment — is it over already? The series, which has already given us some of the most fascinating experimental R&B of the year so far, concludes with a trio of songs that showcase Miguel’s talent for blending the past and the future — and just maybe a signal that he knows that he’s been slept on while emerging stars like The Weeknd and Frank Ocean get all the buzz. Hear “Party Life”, “Ooh Ahh!” and the eerie “Candles In The Sun, Blowin’ In The Wind” (and grab Art Dealer Chic Vol. 3 free) below.
“Party Life” kicks off the collection with echoes of 80s Prince (“Controversy”), juiced up at the chorus with swirling effects. “We don’t want to think / We want to dance,” he sings — but Miguel’s sophisticated execution ultimately forces you to do both. (Make sure to listen to the end to hear him conclude, “It’s kind of sad but I think we’re going to keep on dancing.”)
As Smoking Section notes, though, there’s a subtle suggestion in the inclusion of “Ooh Ahh!”, a rock-pop fusion in which Miguel lets his falsetto fly over a head-nodding riff. It’s been floating around for a few years, and its appearance on Vol. 3 “ends up carrying a clever message: futuristic, genre-bending R&B might be trendy in 2012, but Miguel’s been doing this.”
There’s also the shadowy, soulful “Candles In The Sun, Blowin In The Wind”, in which Miguel departs from his customary futuresex jams and instead sings openly about societal ills over a dubby beat. It would feel out of place, perhaps, if it couldn’t be considered as part of a series that’s been, at its best, a chance for Miguel to stretch and show off — as he describes it on Vol. 2 — his “art s**t”.
Grab all the Art Dealer Chic recordings at Miguel’s custom website.