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NPR Arts & Life

Miguel Balances Political Undertones With Bedroom Eyes

Miguel performs onstage at the Annenberg Foundation and KCRW's Sound In Focus Concert at Annenberg Space For Photography on July 15, 2017. The singer-songwriter's new album 'War & Leisure' drops Dec. 1.
Miguel performs onstage at the Annenberg Foundation and KCRW's Sound In Focus Concert at Annenberg Space For Photography on July 15, 2017. The singer-songwriter's new album 'War & Leisure' drops Dec. 1.

Miguel has made a career out of dropping — well, panty-droppers. But three albums in, he's trying to show a different side to himself. While Miguel's hinted at his political proclivities before in music — 2012's "Candles in the Sun" painted a beautiful, if vague, picture of America's injustices, while his 2016 SoundCloud loosie "How Many" directly addressed the Black Lives Matter movement — Miguel is pushing this agenda full throttle on his forthcoming album War & Leisure.

"I don't want to say I told you so, but I told you so," he belts on the song's chorus (between spins). The song speaks to letting a lover go as much as it serves as a jest at the political chaos right now.

Woke and wonder-struck, the video (below) for his new single "Told You So" today shows off his best Michael Jackson-esque contortions as Miguel beckons his crew to watch rockets launch in the desert. Throughout, scenes of Donald Trump protesters, missile launches and soldiers at attention are gently interposed. (Near the end of the video, one of the rockets appears to shoot a satellite out of the sky.)

War & Leisurewill likely be Miguel's most politically-conscious album of his career — but make no mistake, there'll still be tracks fit for the bedroom. Back in August, Miguel teamed up with rap's rock star Travis Scott for the dreamy "Skywalker." A week later, he shared the Oak and Pop-produced "Shockandawe."

War & Leisure will be released Fri., December 1 via RCA Records.

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