2019 – Art Pop / Pop / Electronic
Magdalene is an epic and timeless experience of sadness, glory, sensuality and self-discovery.
While the Matthew Stone’s hands were drawing the mystically and intriguingly Magdalene’s cover, FKA twigs was in the studio recording what would be her most intimate work. Tahliah Debrett Barnett, a.k.a. FKA twigs, is a British singer, songwriter and musician who has the art in her veins: her mom, who took care of FKA in childhood and adolescence, was a dancer and gymnast; and her father, a jazz dancer, who she only met at 18. In 2012, twigs posted independently her first EP on online, EP1, in 2013, her second project, EP2, was released by the Young Turks Records and it was produced by FKA and Arca. In 2014, LP1, gave face to the world with its unique and striking sound. Now, in 2019, Magdalene, the second studio album by FKA twigs, say hi to the world with the best of FKA so far.
“thousand eyes”, the first track, starts with a serene voice marked by oriental drums that create a depth in the song. The mental state of peace that is created in this song is amazing: while the all the voices in this track are dancing in a dynamic variation of sound waves, the synthesizers get stronger and drown out those same voices that repeat the same things to themselves just to reinforce the singer’s determination. After the climax, where everything is distorted; the piano, harps, angelical voices and water drips returns to the final round and brings peace and hope to the changes that are coming.
The worst of FKA’s journey is starting. The Medieval Church style is killed by a demonic voice in “home with you” that contrasts with the relax, sensible and powerful voice in the chorus representing the duality of a relationship: where the love, the calm voice in the chorus, is always fighting with the worst moments, the electronic and angry voice in the verses. The pitying voice of the final that reach the high notes and keep it for a huge time elevates the soul to a new stage of depth in feelings.
“sad day”, my favorite track on the record, tells the story of FKA’s lover that is moving farther and farther away from her, and even knowing that she is wrong, she asks for a last chance. The sadness happens in passages like this: “Every time you look outside your window / Everything is just the same as before”, referencing how the departure of your love can make you desolate, making you think that the time is frozen. The third track It starts with these early vibrations that are accompanied by FKA’s voice that becomes sad, serene and mild but, when needed, reaches high vocals in a controlled way manner exposing your inner sadness, while the repetitions of “I would make you wish on my love” exalts your desperation for one last chance.
The Mary Magdalene’s narrative gets closer of us in “holy terrain”. The eccentrically beautiful beat peppered the sensuality and sexuality while FKA looks for a perfect man who really deserves her. In the Eden’s Garden, Future becomes unnecessary, even have done a good role in the biblical play, his part is dispensable. The female empowerment of “holy terrain” is taken to another level in “mary magdalene”. The electronic sound complexity (all instruments that are totally distinctive are well-crafted and dance excellently) dances with all the Magdalene’s faces and sensuality of the lyrics. At the start, with the dark beats, and in the inner of the song, harps and pianos explode in the fire of the womb.
In “fallen alien” FKA isn’t the only alien who falls from the heaven. With the mixed voices in the back, representing aliens, twigs talks about the abusive relationship in a track that starts with a variety of pianos ranging from the most terrifying to the softest, and over time the instruments grow frantic. While the anger dominates “fallen alien”, the sadness commands “mirrored heart”. With “came and go” instruments, the voices dance with the synthesizers of the begin that sounds more like a machine that is trying to be turned on. The hard piano and strings play in the back while FKA debate how hard is to find someone new because she is always thinking about him.
“daybed” it’s more second favorite song in the album. By far the most visual of the album: starts with this mild and ancestral beat that paint all Northern Lights scenery in your head. The serene, transcendental and emotional voice describes in a poetic and ambient way the stage of depression of FKA: about how her house is, how the mental state, physical and psyche is and how difficult it is to get out of it. In my opinion, this track should be the final track because sound more like a “The End” than “cellophane”. “daybed” has this fanciful bird noise that mix with the harmonicas, violins and pianos that creates a gorgeous atmosphere.
With sadness, FKA twigs closes Magdalene with “cellophane” wondering if she wasn’t enough. The high vocals that roam inside our heads also talks about how the people were mean to her because she was simply with her love (at the time). The epic-final beat is composed by mouth’s sound, pianos, strings and synthesizers.
In short, FKA twigs’ Magdalene is a great album. Since the production that reached other level of sound experience, up to the intimate lyrics that that tell in detail the whole trajectory of an ending. The story-line encompasses all stages of sadness, and the instruments faithfully represent those stages while the vocals become transcendental.