2019, Music

Magdelene (2019) by FKA Twigs

This is a relentlessly creative art pop album heavily indebted to Kate Bush but still very much its own thing.

This album starts off with (seeming) A Capella voices singing something like a madrigal (in sound if not form) and only occasionally lets up in how gloriously odd it is going forward. Twigs seems to have so many ideas and while that can sometimes overpower musicians, especially younger ones, that is mostly not a problem for her. I think her melodies and other musical ideas are strong enough for the weirdness. (Though, in general, I like quirk and idiosyncrasy more than most people so I’m going to be more open-minded.)

And I should be clear: there are actual songs here. It’s not just soaring vocals over noise. There are songs.

The Kate Bush influence is everywhere – not on every track but on plenty of them. Twigs sounds like Bush at times when she sings but it’s also the general aesthetic of mashing contemporary technology with sounds (particularly vocals) that sound like they are from another era. Also, there is at least one deliberate home to a Bush lyric that I caught.

But that doesn’t really matter because this record is so clearly made in the 21st century with production that could only exist in the 2010s or later. Some of this is “glitch pop” and the glitch part is front and centre on certain tracks. That is just one of the things that makes Twigs sound distinct from her (most obvious) biggest influence.

It’s just a really great match between art pop and contemporary music styles. Twigs feels like the ideal performer for this: she has a great voice, capable of singing in different styles, and seemingly comfortable singing in different genres for different purposes, but still very much her.

That one R&B track with the rap feels really out of place to me, but what are you going to do? It’s the 21st century. It feels like it’s required.

Just really great.


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