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The first line of the album's first song sets the tone: "These lips can't wait to taste your skin." You have entered Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream, a fantastical, steamy, colorful, gritty-but-polished, polished-but-gritty, dripping-with-sex-sweat bacchanal of Marvin Gaye smoothness. The song is "Adorn," and it hit the young Los Angeles-based Mexican/African-American singer like a flash of light, the chords coming to him on a cross-country flight, the lyrics following shortly after. He touched down, wrote the thing in a blur, and doesn't remember much of anything about the process.
Because that's often how great art is made -- a rush of unexplained and inexplicable inspiration (divine or otherwise) knocks over the singer/writer/painter/poet, a happy accident, and a song/book/picture/poem emerges from the fog. As it did with, say, Stephenie Meyer, who went to sleep one night dreaming of shiny vampires and hunky werewolves, and woke up to find the Twilight saga spill out of her, "Adorn" flashed and pulsed in Miguel's mind's eye from something or somewhere. He couldn't write down the recipe, because there was no recipe. It just appeared, a dream while awake. A kaleidoscope dream.
"There's got to be a better example than that," says Miguel, laughing, fresh from a photo shoot in L.A., en route to Europe. "But, yeah, I guess you could make the [Meyer] comparison. It's the only song that's ever hit me like that. It was so different, so special. I knew instantly I wanted to start the album with it and that I had a single."
"Adorn" has a strong "Sexual Healing" vibe, but you'd be deaf or dumb to dismiss it as a mere knockoff. The song is about love, of course, but it's also about longing, yearning, protecting, every aspect and promise of a relationship all rolled up in a tidy, sweet few minutes. It's the perfect amuse-bouche for the album it kicks off, priming the ears, opening them. -- Brian McManus
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