Certain Songs #1141: Miguel – “leaves”

Album: Wildheart
Year: 2015

For the vast majority of “leaves,” the low-key highlight of Miguel’s 2015 album Wildheart, it’s just Miguel singing about “sweet California” over an sadly echoing guitar, making it yet another Certain Song about the state in which I live.

In this particular case, Miguel is equating California’s relative lack of seasons with his surprise at a relationship gone sour.

The leaves, they don’t change here
The leaves don’t change here
So I never saw it coming

But sometimes, without warning, the weather changes. Hell, in the past couple of weeks, it went from 85 and dry to 60 and rainy right back to 80 in what felt like the blink of an eye. Sometimes, if you’re not paying attention, or there aren’t any warning signs, you could be completely caught out.

You know I’m from here, I never saw it coming
Where did the summer go, when you loved me?
Where did the summer go, when you loved me?
You say it’s over now, how could it be over?
I never saw it coming

And at the end of this verse, the rest of his musicians kick in, and “leaves” suddenly reminds you — just for a bit — of the Smashing Pumpkins “1979.” And in fact, it did as well to Miguel, so they called Billy Corgan up and offered him a songwriting credit, just to be on the the safe side.

This melancholy song is always going to remind me of one of the worst periods of my professional career, when I was stuck in a rebound job as a consultant in the digital department of NBC, and the bittersweet tone of this song completely reflected my initial ambivalence about being employed again after a surprise layoff at such a terrible place.


“leaves” performed live in 2015

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