In Raul Midón’s new track “The Mirror,” the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso considers the mirror as a metaphor.
“I am fascinated with the mirror as a metaphor for how we teach each other by our behavior,” Midón tells American Songwriter. “Every relationship is a mirror reflecting back to us all of our virtues and faults.”
This idea lies at the heart of the “The Mirror,” a slinking jazz number that centers Midón’s cool vocals and extraordinary guitar chops. He delivers the chorus in controlled vibratos: “I’m holding up a mirror / do you like what you see? / I’m holding up a mirror / so you can see what you look like to me.”
Midón says the song is about somebody who takes advantage of others. The “mirror” acts as a vehicle for insight: “This, to me, is what is meant by insight,” explains Midón. “The character in this song befriends winners in order to ‘get ahead’ and abandons them when they no longer seem to serve this end.”
Of course, this approach to relationships is ultimately self-defeating. “At bottom, the only one he fools with this game is himself,” says Midón.
In “The Mirror,” Midón delivers a restrained yet pointed criticism of that self-serving character. His voice is smooth and deep, impassioned and rich. But the highlight of the number is a guitar solo around 2:50 in which Midón’s handiwork takes the spotlight. Later, the song closes on a guitar riff that nods to the song’s opening guitar riff–yet another instance of mirroring.
“The Mirror” is the second single off Midón’s forthcoming album of the same name. Lead single “I Love The Afternoon” is an upbeat number that skips and taps and grooves with an easy, affectionate ethos. Midón’s voice is light and soft–it seems to dance on top of his guitarwork. Lauren Kinhan and Janis Siegel’s background vocals are similarly buoyant, while Richard Hammond’s percussion parts rattle and bob beneath.
The Mirror is Midón’s 11th studio album. His last two records–2017’s Bad Ass & Blind and 2018’s If You Really Want–received back-to-back Grammy nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Album (the latter record was a collaboration with Metropole Orkest, conducted by Vince Mendoza).
On The Mirror Midón is joined by a host of collaborators such as Gerald Clayton, Joe Locke, Gary Alesbrook, and Andres Forero in addition to Siegel, Kinhan, and Hammond. As with previous releases, Midón leans heavily on jazz and soul influences. This record will also include two original spoken word tracks. It’s a new form for the musician, but a natural development given his musical ambition and lyrical restlessness. Blind since birth, Midón continues to develop a vision entirely his own.
The Mirror is out March 13 via Artistry Music under Mack Avenue Music Group.