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Meaning of ‘waves’ by ‘Miguel’ feat. Tame Impala

Released: 2016 • Features: Tame Impala

Flipping that boom-bap classic hip-hop feel into a psychedelic journey, Miguel’s breathtaking “Waves” featuring the talented Australians Tame Impala, is a lyrical surfin’ through intoxicating attraction and passion. The lyrics swerve between flirtatious charm and a direct invitation to ride the “wave” – a metaphor for an all-encompassing emotional and physical experience.

Right off the bat, the repetitive phrase “Uh, set it up, keep rollin’, rollin’, drop it / Baby, drop it like it’s stolen” is an assertion of Miguel’s flirtatious bravado. Here, “drop it like it’s stolen” is an interesting play on words, similar to the popular phrase “drop it like it’s hot,” both suggestive of an unreserved, uninhibited action – letting go without hesitation.

The line “Wanna ride that wave” is repeated throughout the song, during the chorus and in-between verses, reinforcing the central theme of the song – a passionate pursuit of exhilarating experience, the ‘wave’ likely a metaphor for a heady mix of emotional highs, physical pleasure, or the thrill of a new romance. The ocean, here, is representative of the person Miguel is drawn toward, their depth, allure, and the irresistible pull they exert.

Lyrics like “You got a body built for the beach / Do you got that ocean?” further cement the oceanic metaphor, and the line “Body surf, don’t sleep / Body surf on me, woman” is the seductive invitation to partake in this ride alluding to the physical intimacy associated with the relationship. The phrase “until I hit the peak” repeats this theme, suggesting a push towards an emotional or physical climax.

The final section sees a repetition of the initial lines, but this time, they’re infused with a heightened sense of urgency and anticipation, with the lyrics “Wanna ride that wave / (Don’t you stop, no, no)” underscoring the unyielding pull of the ‘wave’ Miguel is so intent on riding.

In its essence, “Waves” is a soulful exploration of desire, with the wave and ocean acting as metaphors for intoxicating passion and the mysterious depth of the person being addressed, respectively. Through this track, a sensuous journey unfurls, capturing listeners in its hypnotic tide and pulling them deeper into the artist’s intricately spun narrative.

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