Technically speaking, she’s on searing form –. The production by twigs, Nicolas Jaar, Skrillex, and benny blanco is utterly sublime: Skittering toms build onto an oscillating space-synth, the beats a proscenium for twigs’ voice and, especially, her lover’s desperation.
By. FKA twigs’ first album in four years, and her best work by far, is as introspective as anything she’s written, but more obviously centers her voice as a conduit for plain emotion. It has not been an ascent to dizzying commercial success: her releases sell respectably rather than astonishingly. All this publication's reviews
On LP1, that physicality expressed itself as dominant, aggressive; on the M3LL155X EP, she toyed around … Instead, she heads further into the realms of abstraction: a discombobulating aural scrapbook of pummelling, funeral march percussion, slivers of eerie electronics and white noise and warped samples of voices. Even if “sad day” doesn’t tell an explicit narrative in its lyrics, its production and twigs’ delivery tell an emotional one, that of the last desperate grasps at love in a power imbalance; we’re at the center where the story turns, teetering towards its inevitable end. Sometimes the results are stunning, as on the beautiful microcosmos of tiny, constantly shifting sounds that fade in and out of Mary Magdalene. Magdalene is clearly a very personal work: a breakup album that ruminates on the power of female sexuality and the toxic effects of fame and media intrusion on one’s personal life (Barnett became an unlikely tabloid fixture after dating actor Robert Pattinson). She shows a genuine desire to press forward, to create something new, and that is utterly at odds with huge swathes of current British pop, where trying to fit in and appear as normal as possible is very much the order of the day. Magdalene makes an unpredictable turn wherein FKA twigs traverses an introverted dimension of her vision through a minimalist perspective and a sense of controlled extravagance. MAGDALENE is not just on the vanguard of pop, it’s in a breathtaking class of its own.
It’s a sad solo dance by someone both fully present in herself and aware that she's toeing the line between agency and subjugation. ‘Day Bed’ is possibly the most moving song that has ever been penned about masturbating and crying at the same time: Active are my fingers, faux my cunnilingus,”. Its highlights achieve their ambition in a genuinely impressive style, and if other moments fall short, it’s not for want of trying. As the final track on this deeply thought, deeply felt album, “cellophane” acts as a rejoinder to “thousand eyes”—how sickening it must be, a woman artist constantly watched by bigoted tabloids interested in tearing you down from the man you love, how they did Mary M. and Jesus—and underscores the sorrow woven through MAGDALENE. Live, she frequently spends more time engaged in choreography than actually singing, as if music is a secondary pursuit to abstract tap-dancing and demonstrating her mastery of sword-based kung fu. Available for everyone, funded by readers. The imagery twigs has associated with “cellophane”—pole dancing, a feat of physical strength set perpendicular to the emotional strength she sings about lacking—calls up the idea of performing for others’ pleasure. “Why won’t you do it for me? The music felt as though it came to earth on a meteor, hurled through outer space, brimming with unique sonic silhouettes that many artists wouldn’t dare to explore. (Young Turks)Tahliah Barnett moves further into abstraction on this personal, painstaking and wildly adventurous record, Thu 7 Nov 2019 07.00 EST Yet in spite of twigs’ distinctive soprano (spectral and often papery) and her experimental production (stunning and often bellicose), her music has resonated best as a part of a whole, a piece that propels her full-blown artistry but does not totally comprise it. Sometimes, however, the songs are weirdly stifling.
Rock and pop stars of any stripe usually struggle to convince the world that they’re actually polymath geniuses; FKA twigs – AKA Tahliah Barnett – seems to have been accepted as one from the start. Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music.
“thousand eyes” opens MAGDALENE with twigs singing in the austere polyphony of Medieval church music, a meditation on the moment before a permanent departure (“If I walk out the door it starts our last goodbye”) that, with repetition, reveals itself as a hymn. FKA Twigs Magdalene review: A focus on pain. “sad day,” one of MAGDALENE’s most astonishing tracks, finds twigs properly genuflecting at the altar of Kate Bush, clearly having learned from her ability to translate inner sanctum into cinematic, Shelleyan alt-pop. Even if shit went south, she refuses to saddle herself with the burden: “I’m a fallen alien, I never thought that you would be the one to tie me down,” she seethes. FKA Twigs - Magdalene review: her masterpiece. For ‘Magdalene’, FKA twigs collaborated with a staggering list of artists and producers: Nicolas Jaar, ontributed to her vision. Fallen Alien features a lot of clever production touches – beats that sound like swords clashing, unexpected explosions of industrial clamour, high-drama bursts of sped-up backing vocals – allied to a meandering, episodic tune. It’s a sad-wank anthem, if you will. ‘Day Bed’ is possibly the most moving song that has ever been penned about masturbating and crying at the same time: “Active are my fingers, faux my cunnilingus,” she sings.
“They just remind me I’m without you,” she sighs. By locating herself in Magdalene’s lineage, twigs, a Catholic school alumnus, explores the ways deeply conservative expectations trammel women; in doing so, she locates a version of herself within these ancient and oppressive archetypes, upending and transcending them through the power of her songwriting and the sheer magnetic pull of her presence.
T, o its core ‘MAGDALENE’ is an album about rebuilding after collapse. Last modified on Fri 8 Nov 2019 11.23 EST.
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