FKA twigs - 'MAGDALENE' review
After listening to FKA twigs’ latest singles, the prospect for an exciting new album seemed promising. It has been five years since LP1 and in that time twigs has been in a publicly scrutinised relationship, gone through a breakup and undergone emergency surgery to remove fibroids from her uterus. She was left unsure of what direction the new album should go, but despite the lack of certainty in the beginning stages of the album’s creation, the end result is something which has definitely not disappointed fans. It is an ambitious and poetic account of her thoughts and feelings over the last few years in relation to her health and the watchful eyes of the media.
MAGDALENE is, of course, inspired by Mary Magdalene, a woman who, as said by twigs, is remembered in the shadow of a man, something which she says she can relate to. ‘thousand eyes’ sets the tone for the album, both contextually and musically. The song is about the artist’s experience with intrusive tabloids when dating actor Robert Pattinson: “if I walk out the door it wakes a thousand eyes”. The introduction of soft angelic vocals confirms what was suggested by the release of ‘home with you’ and ‘cellophane’ – that this is a much more emotionally intimate album than her debut, LP1. ‘home with you’ depicts the pressures that come hand in hand with relationships; it is a clever mix of condemning the neediness of others whilst also guiltily confessing her fervent attachment: “if you had told me I’d be running down the hills to be with you”. With distorted vocals and her voice, almost whispery, piercing through a background of busy electronics, her confession at the end: “I’d have told you I was lonely too” is an honest and emotional full stop. ‘cellophane’ continues this theme to the end of the album. It is a truly raw and passionate track, more so than the others, in which, again, twigs is speaking of the intense level of scrutiny she was under.
Listening to FKA twigs’ music, it is not difficult to notice artists alike in their creative vision and production, Bjork and Kate Bush come to mind when listening to the album. The innovation and intricacy gone into this album, however, sets twigs apart from her artistic predecessors and has resulted in one of those rare works of art where upon listening to it again and again you notice something different each time. It is clear that every aspect has been cleverly thought through. There are times in which the music grows too overpowering and drowns out twigs’ vocals, tracks such as ‘fallen angels’ and ‘daybed’ are examples of this. But despite this, MAGDALENE is a very emotional and intimate piece of work. Touching on female sexuality and relationships, this album is an interesting listen, vastly different to her first, and a true demonstration of twigs’ talent.