Frank Ocean, Elle Varner and … SWV?! The 10 best R&B albums of 2012

Mon., Dec. 24, 2012 8:54 AM EST
by Stereo Williams

#1 Kaleidoscope Dream by Miguel

Thoughtful and slightly eccentric, Miguel’s second album borrows pages from Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Usher and R. Kelly; and re-writes them in his own handbook. Sonically, this is an album that engulfs the listener, dynamic and fluid—you don’t just listen to Kaleidoscope Dream, you experience it. The album’s less-than-successful moments are still interesting; with Miguel himself displaying a deceptively emotive and versatile vocal ability. This is a big album. Even its hushed moments seem to bounce off the walls. And the guy’s a stellar songwriter. Some of the more explicit moments feel a bit forced, but that’s forgivable. While you were sleeping, Frank Ocean and this guy re-introduced artistic ambition to mainstream R&B.

Good for them.


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