"Simplethings" opens with fuzzed-out guitar chords, slow-tempoed and menacing but still seductive. The singer, Miguel, has a story to tell, but he doesn't seem to be in too big of a hurry to get through it.
With deep echo that bounces through the track, which debuted during the most recent episode of HBO's "Girls," he relays a conversation with a Zen-like calmness: "She says, 'I don't want a model, I don't want a movie star. You don't have to win the lotto -- you just have to win my heart.' "
That crawling guitar, which sounds fed though Superfuzz and/or Bigmuff distortion pedals, layers the slow jam with grunge, nasty and danger. As the track's key ingredient, those six strings suggest further expansion for the breakout R&B singer from San Pedro -- even as it hints at one of Prince's best love songs, "The Beautiful Ones." Like Miguel's killer track with Mariah Carey, "Beautiful," "Simplethings" resonates because it's utterly surprising.
The reason for Miguel's chill comes in the chorus: "She said, 'I just want someone true.' She said, 'I just want someone to smoke with me, baby.' "
Oh, OK. No wonder Miguel's floating. All that this lover is expecting of him is weed, a couch and some giggles. "Lay with me, babe. Laugh with me, babe. I just want the simple things."
A thumpy drum arrives to add some depth as Miguel replies with his own requirements. He seems cool with the arrangement, but his "simple things" involve something more than just lying around -- even if he doesn't need a supermodel either. "Just be a tough act to follow. You know, a free spirit with a wild heart."
As a skittering high-hat ups the temperature, that guitar riff intensifies and locks in with the bass to complete the groove, which loops as Miguel reveals his Prince-heavy DNA. "Lay with me, baby. Laugh with me baby. I just want the simple things. I just want you."
The song fades like a candle running out of wick: sapped of fuel, the riff turns to smoke and drifts away.