• Connor Aiden

FKA Twigs Upcoming 'Magdalene' Album

Ahead of the announcement of an additional nine new US dates to her Magdalene tour we take a look at everything we know about the upcoming body of work Twigs produced predominantly alongside Nicolas Jaar, and deep dive into the meaning of first single 'Cellophane'.

Photo by Willy Vanderperre

FKA Twigs proved her innate individuality and emotional, musical complexity yet again last April with her dazzling comeback single 'Cellophane' after taking a four-year hiatus. During her time out of the spotlight Twigs has endured a lot in her personal life having to undergo serious surgery in December 2017 due to health conditions, as-well-as dealing with the separation from her then Fiancee, Hollywood Actor, Robert Pattinson and more recently Shia Labeouf. True to form, the elusive songstress has used these experiences to fuel new material all the while training in the art of Pole Dancing, Wushu, and Piano to deliver her upcoming sophomore album 'Magdalene' this fall with a few new tricks up her sleeve.

“The record is about every lover that I’ve ever had, and every lover that I’m going to have... It’s really fragile. I made it at a time when I was in recovery – physically and emotionally – and I think that comes through. Just when you think it’s really fragile and about to fall apart, there’s an absolute defiance and strength in a way that my work’s never had before”

I was fortunate enough to attend the one night only London production of Magdalene at Alexandra Palace and got to experience the new album in its entirety which is nothing less than a masterpiece and truly moved everyone in the venue that night. Excitingly Twigs has also revealed Future will appear on the track 'Holy Terrain' which follows on nicely from her delve into the world of hip hop after collaborating with A$AP Rocky on 'Fukk Sleep'. Twigs is set to release 'Magdalene' with Young Turks this coming fall. You can read more about Magdalene via I-D Magazine here.  

The first single entitled ‘Cellophane’ is the 31-year-old UK artists first release since 2016 single ‘Good To Love’. Suffice to say Twigs did not disappoint her long-awaiting fans releasing the Avant pop masterpiece alongside stunning visuals created by LA Based filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang (Björk, Thom Yorke, Kelela, Perfume Genius) who’s work explores alternative modes of storytelling to create lush, mythic worlds. The track was nominated for MTV Best Direction, Choreography and Visual Effects. Twigs co-produced the track with Jeff Kleinman (Frank Ocean, Anderson Paak, Kevin Abstract) and Michael Uzowuru (Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt).

In the track which was received with great critical acclaim, Twigs sings to her past lover asking why she wasn’t enough for him and how she feels the world wants to see them apart. She gets overwhelmed by having to share their love in the public eye no matter how hard she tries to ignore the fact. Instrumentally the track is led by a somber warbling slow-paced piano part, which gets warped, stretched and manipulated as the track develops. The production is bare in contrast to 2014s LP1 and the increase of space in the mix makes the voice shine in a way that feels like rediscovering Twigs unique voice all over again. The fragility of the track is further emphasised with minimal distorted synths, fragmented glitches and unsettling electronic sonic elements that subtly generate a whirlwind of tension as the intensity and texture builds throughout.

Lyrically Cellophane is almost spellbinding as the simplistic and repetitive form chains you to the emotion until the very end. The first verse starts with a series of vulnerable questions which instantly reveal the sense of longing, loss, desire, and anguish over the demise of this relationship being sang about.

Didn’t I do it for you?

Why don’t I do it for you?

Why won’t you do it for me?

When all I do is for you?

Twigs vocal delivery is utterly heartbreaking beginning low and fragile and growing into a soaring release of emotion. The voice is dramatic and theatrical without compromising believability for one-second and this paired with the stripped-back production creates an intimate experience and unique atmosphere for the listener.

The visuals involve Twigs coming out behind a curtain to a roaring audience, dressed in a beautiful baroque-inspired custom outfit by UK designer Ed Marler. She begins performing difficult tricks on the pole eventually climbing up to meet a robotic sphinx-like creature with her face in the sky, before falling to the bottom of the world and landing in a pit of red mud. Two women wearing Kabuki masks smother her body in the mud. Many have speculated the video is directly influenced by the Icarus and the Phoenix myth. Twigs shows us her fall from grace and her rebirth after. There is a huge focus on contrasting the idea of vulnerability with confidence, success and happiness.

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