After almost five years of silence, FKA Twigs sensually whispers back into our consciousness with Magdalene. It’s the melancholy sound of an avant-garde creator attempting to pick up the fragments of her broken heart and glue them back together while we listen in… only able to share in the pain.
Magdalene takes inspiration from controversial religious icon Mary Magdalene, who has been used as a muse to defend and explore the themes of FKA Twigs own sexuality and experiences, that have held the vicious public’s attention and generated opinions.
Sort-of title track Mary Magdalene is the crux of the album, where Twigs asserts the need to be an empowered equal to your partner as she believes Magdalene was to Jesus. The outro to this track is perhaps the most sonically interesting minute of the entire album.
Mirrored Heart is poignant, poetically written pillow talk exploring relationships where the partners connect so deeply that they morph into one single being. Daybed changes the theme up and discusses masturbation to pass the day during bouts of depression. Lyrically it’s far more intelligently written, introspective and soul-baring than her predecessor, 2014’s LP1.
Magdalene showcases a simpler version of Twigs’ sound, highlighting her sopranic range and enviable vocal abilities. While she is a master at mixing experimental sounds (co-producers include Nicolas Jaar, Oneohtrix Point Never and Skrillex) with her angelic quivering voice, and while every track merges these two ingredients successfully, it falls short as an entire album.
The similarities between each song on the album, while making it feel cohesive, means it struggles to hold the listener’s attention for the duration. Beautiful, ethereal and at times mesmerising, it’s the lack of her signature trip-hop beats and dark sensuality that are deeply missed, resulting in an appreciated atmospheric album, but one that lacks replay value.