• Record Label: RCA
  • Release Date: Dec 1, 2017
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
Buy On
  1. 90
    War & Leisure is an album with a generous helping of highlights, not least because of Miguel’s enviable vocal versatility and affinity for dramatic songcraft, an irresistible combo that sees him playing both hero and villain in his own fantasy.
  2. Dec 21, 2017
    87
    After 11 tracks of carefree sex jams, it’s good to hear the guy stretching himself into a different direction. That’s something Miguel has always done, sonically speaking. And he always sounds amazing doing it; that hasn’t changed on War & Leisure.
  3. Dec 1, 2017
    83
    Miguel wears War & Leisure’s looseness well, and even if he doesn’t reveal much of himself, he still has the charisma to pull the whole ensemble off.
  4. 83
    The second half of the album--a more compelling collection of singles--clarifies its darker themes while remaining upbeat.
  5. Dec 1, 2017
    81
    On War & Leisure, he sounds unconflicted and ready to rumble. The freedom he promises his lovers in his music extends to himself, and he’s better than ever at just letting go.
  6. Jan 2, 2018
    80
    In lesser hands, all this weight could feel leaden. But Miguel remains a craftsman, and leisure gets its due.
  7. Uncut
    Dec 21, 2017
    80
    The gorgeous psychedelic soul of "Pineapple Skies," the Prince-like strut of "Told You" and the rubbery Latin funk of "Caramelo Duro" all reaffirm Miguel's status as the most versatile talent in R&B's avant-garde. [Feb 2018, p.30]
  8. Dec 18, 2017
    80
    For all the conflict imagery, War & Leisure is often brightly colored, even upbeat.
  9. Dec 18, 2017
    80
    The record thrives because of this surface-level wokeness, Miguel continuing to occupy his own lane as a vital, progressive artist.
  10. Dec 8, 2017
    80
    The shimmering War & Leisure, the singer’s fourth LP, finds him operating in a similarly creative groove [as on 2015's Wildheart] but tamping down wolfish eroticism in favor of breezier, tropical vibes.
  11. 80
    Pineapple Skies is the most obvious soaraway, feelgood hit, but very little on War & Leisure falls flat.
  12. Dec 1, 2017
    80
    Even if the commercial tea leaves don't come together in his favor, War & Leisure has shown that, artistically at least, Miguel is exactly where he needs to be.
  13. Dec 1, 2017
    80
    Though he enthusiastically pushes the boundaries of his sound and image on his most eclectic album yet, Miguel also takes care to make each of its tracks insatiably catchy and breezily fun.
  14. 80
    War & Leisure lacks the obvious identity that has marked out Miguel’s previous three albums, but that’s no fault. By comparison, this is 
a compelling collection of poptastic R&B tracks made to soundtrack your night out.
  15. Nov 30, 2017
    80
    Though he sometimes gives into funky ad-libbing instead of building solid vocal melodies, his voice, particularly when drowsily tossing out raps or soaring in its upper mid-range, is a beautiful instrument that always ties the groove together.
  16. Nov 30, 2017
    70
    The L.A. soul explorer's fourth album creates a space where psych-funk splendor coexists with deep anxiety.
  17. 67
    Like [Prince's 1981 album] Controversy’s title track handing off to “Sexuality” or many other examples, there are stylistic switches in War & Leisure too: the aforementioned “City of Angels” between the album’s two best grooves (“Told You So” and “Caramelo Duro”), but the switches don’t feel natural--they just feel like the “shuffle” was the chosen method of sequencing. Too much leisure, not enough war.
  18. Q Magazine
    Nov 30, 2017
    60
    Miguel has been mentioned in the same breath as Frank Ocean (often by himself) and The Weeknd, but this album doesn't quite unlock such self-contained worlds. [Jan 2018, p.107]
  19. Dec 4, 2017
    58
    Lyrically, it’s inconsistent, and doesn’t serve its title or occasional flirtations with current events very well besides a few references smattered in every other song. Musically, though, it feels more disposable than before, and less beholden to locking into deeper, more resonant grooves.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 62
  2. Negative: 4 out of 62
  1. Dec 17, 2018
    5
    It feels as if Miguel is too smart to manifest his musical ideas, and so has an unfortunate disposition to imitate previous melodies. Thus,It feels as if Miguel is too smart to manifest his musical ideas, and so has an unfortunate disposition to imitate previous melodies. Thus, the subjects addressed feel too familiar, and whilst the lush, contemporary instrumentation makes for an interesting and vivid adventure, it is ultimately either the harsh interferences of stylistic choices of certain tracks or the lack of differentiation thereof where sounds feel redundant that gives this album an uneasy flow. Full Review »
  2. Jan 14, 2018
    8
    What excites me most about Miguel is how each release exemplifies his continual growth as an artist and an individual. War & Leisure combinesWhat excites me most about Miguel is how each release exemplifies his continual growth as an artist and an individual. War & Leisure combines the refinement of Kaleidoscope Dream with the dynamism and funkadelia of Wildheart to create a sound at once sophisticated and groovy. Miguel's form of lyrical expression is all his own here (as it has been on previous albums), as he articulates pain, love, and desire with a poeticism and nuance comparable to no other artist in pop music. His creativity is also present in the album's structuring, specifically in how the record's latter half deftly balances the personal and the political on songs like 'Told You So' and 'Come Through and Chill', and he even opts for overt politicism on album closer 'Now'. Miguel's powerful juxtaposing of his personal relationships with the current state of America and the remaining world makes this record's title a fitting one, and I'm proud to call War & Leisure one of my favorite releases of 2017.

    Highlights include 'Criminal,' 'Sky Walker,' and 'Wolf'.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 21, 2017
    6
    The music has a consistent groove with mellow tempos and a nice spotlight on the electric guitar, but that’s really all it has in terms ofThe music has a consistent groove with mellow tempos and a nice spotlight on the electric guitar, but that’s really all it has in terms of worth, with a lack of real harmonic color and oddly paced, unsurprising, boring melodies that don’t break free from sounding like a marketable ploy to bring in fans of all ages. My Score: 116/180 (Good) = 6.4/10 Full Review »