Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Miguel – Arch & Point

We’ve been harvesting quite a crop of 7s lately.


Jonathan Bogart: I’ll always have a lot of affection for singers like Miguel, who know R&B tradition inside out (there’s a whole boatload of Prince in this song) but aren’t interested either in slavish recreation of past glories or in the ultramodernism that would give them reliable hits. “Sure Thing” deserved to go #1 R&B, but it did so without sounding like much else that had been there in years, and it seems he’s taken the vote of confidence as an excuse to explore sonic territory that strays even farther from the pop-chart standard. With its chugging guitar, whispered production, and an intimacy that borders on the indelicate, “Arch & Point” feints towards art-rock but lands right in sex jam, where it meant to all along.

Alfred Soto: The six-syllables-per-second style that Miguel perfected on “Sure Thing” peeks around the corner, but the teasing creates tension — will he or won’t he? Luckily he provides pleasures “Sure Thing”‘s followups didn’t: a sinister guitar figure, echo, and an interesting lyrical conceit.

Brad Shoup: Apparently the title isn’t anything to do with usage instructions for the Macintosh Quadra. This is the Miguel I want to hear: limited but controlled, melancholic without self-pity. He digs for something resembling the guttural, surely to match the alt-rock accompaniment. All the elements — electric and electronic — are used with wisdom, which makes his pointless doggie-style tutorial all the weirder. 

Iain Mew: Equal parts exquisite, overworked, and terrifying. By the end I’m still not quite sure whether his fetish is the fishnets, the birthday cake or her overt shows of pleasure on instruction.

Jer Fairall: All of The Weeknd’s lubricious surfaces and spacious atmospherics, but with the decency to ask whether it was good for you while actually seeming to care, and armed with the moves to ensure that it almost certainly was. Everything in the music mimics the act with nearly onomatopoeic suggestion, from the grunts of the guitars and the moaning vocal samples to Miguel’s lithe, seductive voice. Sex for pleasure in a popular entertainment: what a novel concept.

Katherine St Asaph: Miguel finally drags his bag of tricks out of storage; all this time, he could’ve been using sleazy guitars, rumblings and SFX and an even sleazier metaphor that should make Darren Aronofsky retract Black Swan in shame. The role suits him. It’s forced him to ditch the feeble falsetto, meaning he now sounds sexy and not pre-pubescent. Or maybe it’s just what he’s singing.

Anthony Easton: Like someone caught at the bottom of a well, but you know, urban. 

3 Responses to “Miguel – Arch & Point”

  1. Point goes to Easton.

  2. This one may eclipse “Sure Thing” as my favorite Miguel, thanks to his full-throated singing.

  3. The video is, um, hot.