By Andrew Breazeale, Staff Writer
[Young Turks; 2019]
Key tracks: “fallen alien”, “holy terrain (feat. Future)”, “home with you”
If FKA twigs has been just a side note in your head for the past four years, now is the time to sit up and pay attention. The British avant-garde singer, songwriter and dancer released her first album in four years, Magdalene, in November. Following a break-up with the vampire of our dreams and an operation that removed tumors in her uterus, FKA twigs has come back to her music stronger than anyone has ever seen her before. With the release of this Magdalene, she details her journey in self-healing, loss and self-discovery.
Magdalene is born out of pain and sadness, and it shows. It is her most powerful and sincere work to date. After years of dating Robert Pattinson, their break-up brought twigs into a space where she thrived creatively, fusing her emotions into art that literally took my breath away. Twigs claims she found inspiration in the biblical figure Mary Magdalene, who not unlike herself, was pushed aside to make way for men and their “grander” ambitions. The struggle of Mary Magdalene is threaded throughout the album, reflecting twigs’ less than ideal journey over the past few years.
The album opens with “thousand eyes”, a haunting Medieval-esque ballad about saying a final goodbye and the “coldness” associated with the loss of a loved one, namely Robert Pattinson, in twigs’ case. Every track on the album is a perfect example of twigs’ sublime combination of vocals and production. With help from producers benny blanco, Skrillex, and Nicolas Jaar, twigs crafts an incredible soundscape of outlandish, rhythmic synths and beats, which is only further elevated by the accompaniment of her flowing, spirited voice.
The 9-track album gracefully combines the production of each contributor, yet twigs is never overshadowed. Her individuality and immense talent shine through on this album and her own visionary style is never lost in the album’s sound. She refuses to be tied down on the dynamic “fallen alien” and confronts the hate and racist speech she received online for dating Robert Pattinson on “cellophane”. Whether it’s a soft-spoken ballad or a potent, energetic beat, there is no denying that each song on this album epitomizes FKA twigs as the incredible singer and gifted artist she is.