Majestic ‘Magdalene’

FKA Twigs’ ‘Magdalene’ is her best and most honest album yet


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FKA Twigs’ album, ‘Magdalene,’ received a 9.4 out of 10 rating on Pitchfork.

Tim Powers, Staff Writer

Through a meditation and marination of love and desire, FKA Twigs creates a sensual and cinematic masterpiece with the release of her second album, “Magdalene.”

FKA Twigs, whose birth name is Tahliah Barnett, continues her signature sound introduced in her first solo album, “LP1,” while elaborating and expanding on the ideas she originally played with. The best way to describe her music is a cross between Lana Del Rey and Janelle Monae, while also still having her own experimental vision. 

The theme of desire flows through every song, from a desire of someone else to a desire of herself. It is a tremendous exploration and character study of love and how it has affected her. 

This new album brings together a tremendous orchestration of different sounds that create a beautiful sense of emotion—giving listeners a unique experience. While listening to her album, you will feel like you’re floating through space. You feel encapsulated in the darkness of her mind slowly passing each individual star and spot of bright light that illustrates the pictures of her mind, allowing you a moment in her shoes and witness her experiences and desires. 

The album’s lead single, “Cellophane,” is definitely the album’s best and most impactful moment. The track comes at the end, and it brings the show to a stopping halt, allowing the audience and Twigs, herself, to contemplate “the everything” — everything she knows about herself and everything she knows about her relationship. It is an implorably moving examination of weakness and strength, detailing her inability to please her partner and her partners inability to please her. 

“Cellophane” details the experience of trying to climb to perfection while ultimately falling to a sort of doom in yourself. Twigs’ vocal performance is full of different levels of raw, stripped-back emotion, swinging from low to high notes like a pendulum. It is rare to see this level of detail in a vocal performance in today’s musicians, especially in pop music. 

Another one of the album’s promotional singles, “home with you,” explores the same aspect as “Cellophane” but focuses more on a direct situation. With striking and heartbreaking lyrics like, “I didn’t know that you were lonely/ If you’d have just told me I’d be home with you,” it is one of the more beautifully written songs on the album that builds the overall theme of love, desire and expectations. Her narration is affective and distinctive while also feeling universal. It makes Twigs feel like one of the most important voices in music. 

In the final single, released before the album, “sad day,” Twigs explores the widening gap between herself, her love and her hopes of closing it. There is a clear darkness that looms over this song. While Twigs is attempting a happy change, she knows that it is not truly possible. With lyrics such as, “You are turning ‘round and ‘round/ You see, it’s a sad day for sure/ taste the fruit of me/ make love to all you see,” Twigs desires the love she once felt but knows that it no longer exists, and the end is near. I feel like the subject of the song is so overdone in music, but because of Twigs distinctive vision, the song is able to move beyond a generic state and enter into something grander. 

This album brings together Twigs’ most poignant and raw work yet. She explores her feelings openly and in great detail by moving through time and space at her own pace, with her own desires and of her own volition. 

Twigs remains one of the few artists that have stood out from the pack of musicians that have risen from the alternative, experimental cloth in the last decade. While others have gone on to commercialize their art, Twigs has evolved further down a path similar to Bjork, making avant-garde, non-commercial music. “Magdalene” is a magnificent portrait of a woman sticking to her own and exploring the effects of that act.