“I started writing songs about sex because I could not for the life of me understand why anyone would do it,” writes Speedy Ortiz‘s Sadie Dupuis in a new essay for the Talkhouse about Miguel‘s 2015 record, WILDHEART. “This was when I was a teen — and a straightedge abstainer — and although I was supportive of and fascinated by my friends’ sexual explorations, a beautiful human face had never caused me to swoon or launch ships or take off my pants.”
Writing for the Talkhouse’s “Stuff We Missed” end-of-year franchise (where the site’s favorite musician/writers revisit the year’s most impression-making albums), Dupuis reexamines the R&B singer’s highly sensual lyricism and points out areas of hidden depth, all the while noting how Miguel once said that — like her — he was in fact a late bloomer. Here’s an excerpt:
So it’s interesting to me that Miguel Pimentel — the songwriter, performer and producer behind Wildheart, possibly this year’s most overtly libidinous album — grew up in a devoutly religious family, and even preached until college. “I wasn’t going to parties, I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t smoking, I definitely wasn’t smoking weed, I wasn’t having sex. Late bloomer. Really late bloomer,” he told The Guardian this October.Wildheart is weighed heavy with self-aware promiscuity and pornographic dreaminess. There’s a polarity to Miguel’s lyrical goals; he willingly participates in but also satirizes the commercially iconic sexuality imposed on those artists deemed R&B (see: D’Angelo, D’Angelo’s abs). Throughout the album, Miguel joyfully brings his partner to multi-orgasmic peaks — and then declares, “We should make you pay for this” (in “N.W.A.”) and “Love me for a profit” (in “Deal”). Could this duality suggest that late-blooming Miguel — a self-styled sex icon — is learning all this carnal stuff as he goes along, too?
Read Dupuis’ essay in full here.