After listening to Now, it is clear that it falls under the same genre that all of Miguel’s songs fall, R&B. Miguel has been known for his soulful songs, filled with sexual innuendo’s. In his newest album, War and Leisure, he uses his soothing voice to fight political issues in our nation.
R&B has largely been influenced by artists like Prince and Jimi Hendrix. Rhythm and Blues (R&B) began in the late 1930s as a form of music predominately sung by African Americans. The genre was used to categorize music that combined Blues and Jazz. In the 1950s, R&B was seen as low style music because it was played in late night clubs. In the 70s, the term was “expanded to become a blanket term that included both soul and funk forms of music” (Thoughtco)
The characteristics have stayed constant throughout the decades. The first half of the term, rhythm, is based on “four-beat measures or bar and the liberal use of a backbeat” (Thoughtco). The melody of the song resembles that of background music focusing on the lyrics rather than the music. The blues part relates to the lyrics and melody of the song. In the past, R&B, has solely been known for its love songs. The genre presents a sad vibe through its words.
Miguel has been an R&B artist since he stepped onto the music soon. His drive for R&B and telling a story through his music has not changed with his latest album. In his song, Now, the melody carries the words. There is soft ballad playing in the background. The ballad is a mix of someone strumming a single guitar with some sound mixes in the melody. His voice is calm and soulful. You can hear every word down to each syllable.
Miguel wants to push himself beyond the bounds of R&B. Producing music for him “Miguel wants to prove that his music is much bigger than just creating R&B. ‘My intention is to transcend the expectations of ethnic people or what they are allowed to do,’ he said,” (Time)
In the song Now, he moves away from your average R&B love song but instead uses it to talk about political issues within our nation. When he starts the chorus it is the truest form of R&B. His soulful voice sings on the backtrack of a soft melody. “Is that the look of freedom, now?/ Is that the sound of freedom, now?”
Even in a politically charged album, Miguel has stayed true to his music. In an interview with MTV News, Miguel says that his music is still the same sex, drugs and rock and roll, but in War and Leisure he wanted his words to mean more. Now was a song he wrote after opening his eyes to the 2016 election and that’s when it all went beyond soulful R&B.
Miguel’s album has transcended the genre in an attempt to educate himself and others in the best way he knows how. Through music.