Tuesday, December 22, 2020


FKA twigs has been praised for her ability to merge and blend genres like R&B and electronic ever since her first album LP1 came out in 2014. Her second album was highly anticipated for this reason, and her ability to take songs and transform them into art - not just with the music itself, but with the videos and performances she attaches to the songs - is a whole other reason why this album was such an anticipated standout of 2019.

A lot happened between 2014 and 2019 that influenced FKA twigs for her self-produced sophomore album MAGDALENE. A breakup from a public, long-term relationship was one main source of inspiration for the melancholic album, and something that permeates on the tracks throughout. In an interview, she said the album is about “every lover that I’ve ever had, and every lover that I’m going to have.”

A lot has also happened since MAGDALENE has been released. Since it’s now been a year since the album’s release, take a look back on fka twigs’s triumphant follow-up album and get to know the sword-yielding songstress and dancer a bit better. 

The album starts with ‘thousand eyes,’ an introductory track that invites listeners into the struggles of constantly dealing with public scrutiny with looping vocals and dissonant backing sounds. 

‘home with you’ is perhaps the best track to hear if you want to get a sense of the whole album. It has dark verses with a heavenly-like sounding chorus, striking strings and pianos and emotional vocals about being in a strained relationship, not realising how lonely the only person actually is: i didn’t know that you were lonely / if you’d had just told me, i’d be home with you.  Not only does it reflect on a failing relationship, but also highlights self-doubt and identity: i’ve never seen a hero like me in a sci-fi… / …  mary magdalene would never let her loved ones down. The music video, filled with choreography and symbolic images, allows us to visualize and feel the emotional turmoil even further.

FKA twigs ‘home with you’ MV

‘sad day’ has rich production that builds and compliments twigs’s voice before almost completely stopping, with twigs’s voice and light piano shining through the bridge. the ‘sad day’ music video is special in a way only fka twigs can accomplish: she sees her ex in a chinese takeaway shop and they engage in a beautifully choreographed sword fight (something that feels like it came from a Murakami novel) before her ex gains the upper hand, and literally slices her in half - again referencing the emotional turmoil and grief of losing someone, and even a bit yourself, from a breakup.

FKA twigs ‘sad day’ MV


‘holy terrain’ is the sole track on the album that features a collaboration, one with Future, and one that showcases twigs’s ability to blend and merge genres as it has elements of electronic music and rap. 

‘fallen alien’ is one of the more upbeat, chaotic tracks of the album, often going in different directions unexpectedly but always with strong vocals.

‘mirrored heart’ and ‘cellophane’ are probably the two strongest songs from the album that highlight the draining emotions and unanswered questions after going through a breakup. The post chorus of ‘mirrored heart’ has a heartbreaking chorus of some of these questions: did you want me all? / no, not for life / did you truly see me? / no, not this time / were you ever sure? / no, not with me. ‘cellophane’ wraps the album up with some of these questions as well. Didn’t I do it for you? / Why don’t I do it for you? twigs immediately asks with piano and timed, even percussions. ‘cellophane’ uses a perfect analogy of wrapping one’s feelings in cellophane - it’s suffocating, but a way to preserve the emotions or memories you’ve had. The song concludes with her feelings for her partner with the public, who are waiting, watching, hating, and hoping i’m not enough.  

FKA Twigs performs ‘cellophane’ on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRyrvdB_3lQ 

MAGDALENE is a strong sophomore album from fka twigs, but it’s really more than that. By the time the album finishes, you feel like you’ve wrung out all of your emotions. It’s introspective, emotional and each song cathartic for different reasons. It’s one to replay for 2020 and beyond.

-- Emily Savidge
Michael Zorn/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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