Thursday, January 20, 2022

FKA Twigs has returned with a mixtape, made just for us

FKA Twigs is back with a seventeen-track mixtape, doused with old-school nostalgia and carefree sensitivity. Traditionally made for friends, families and lovers, Twigs reaches out to audiences with a gentle hand. ‘Caprisongs’ starts with the familiar clunky insertion of a tape and the echoey welcoming from Twigs: “Hey I made you a mixtape”, which leaves you thinking, ‘oh, wait. You mean me?’  

A mixtape isn’t just a label to put on the album but a clever framing technique. The click of a cassette player is not just a fun gimmick but something that is able to swerve each song into whatever direction she desires. 


Unlike how many may assume, the mixtape’s title is not another attempt of nostalgia by riffing on the ‘Capri-sun’. On the contrary, her songs are misbehaving and innovative, mixing choir music, carefree chants, feminine rapping and Afrobeats. Sounds are stolen from nightclubs, dance floors and discos all the way from South London to the Caribbean. This genre-melding is not unusual for Twigs, who is known for pulling inspirations from R&B, electronic music and pop – a characteristic that is distinct on this album. Yet the music on ‘Caprisongs’ is her most creatively varied and her nonconformity and innovation remains steadfast throughout whilst the production is relaxed, cathartic and soul-reviving. 


Twigs toys with the comfort of mainstream, before ripping apart and moulding each song into something incredibly experimental. It is her nonchalant toeing of the line between avant-garde and pop which makes her so delightful to listen to. As the mixtape progresses, the unorthodox musical inspirations deepen and as with any good mixtape, the niche stuff is hidden in the middle. 


The album truly separates itself from her previous work; ‘Caprisongs’  being filled with a sense of fun and joy. It’s a delightful change from her innately raw and heartfelt musings. This is not to say the mixtape isn’t revealing some pain or grief but her model of catharsis has distinctly changed.


In the tradition of sharing tape cassettes and songs, Twigs explores her musical sensibilities with the help of her friends. This is clearest on ‘Darjeeling’, featuring both Jorja Smithand Unknown T, which sees Twigs reminisce on her old school, Croydon College and her teenage aspirations. Other guest features include Daniel CaesarShygirland The Weeknd, with executive production from El Guincho. As Twigs herself has said, ‘Caprisongs’ is a “journey back to myself through my amazing collaborators and friends.”


It’s unadulterated nostalgia, with Twigs writing on twitter: “It’s bronzer in the sink, alcopop on the side, a cherry lolly, apple juice when [you’re] thirsty, friends in the park, your favourite person, that one sentence somebody said to you that changed everything...”


This is something incredibly relatable from Twigs; an artist who hasn’t always been so. Known for whirling martial arts swords and gracefully pole dancing without budging her immaculately intricate makeup, the idea that she ever had awkward teen years or even sat on a park bench is baffling. 


Overall, ‘Caprisongs’ is light and airy, arguably more accessible than her bolder works, yet, that’s not to say the FKA Twigs flare isn’t there. This mixtape rightly proves that whatever genre, musical inspiration or vocal challenge Twigs presents herself with, she smashes. It is a testament to her poeticism and talent as an artist. This mixtape is definitely worth a listen, then in the name of the game, pass it to your mates! 


Maia Gibbs

Image: 'Caprisongs' Official Album Cover

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