The transformation of FKA Twigs
Spellbounding and effervescent, FKA Twigs has constantly pushed the boundaries of contemporary music since the beginning of her career. With her 2014 debut LP1 we saw Twigs maximizing sound and creating vocal and production layers so detailed it was mesmerizing to the ears and truly transporting. Then, the most mature project in her discography, 2019’s Magdalene, was a somber look into Twigs’ life. A theme throughout Twigs’ music up to this point was her trademark way of delicately delivering a variety of emotions juxtaposed onto sharp and textured soundscapes. Now, with the first mixtape to her name, CAPRISONGS sees the artist creating a completely transformed version of her art. On Instagram, she talks about the album by saying, “CAPRISONGS is my journey back to myself through my amazing collaborators and friends”. After an abusive relationship and an isolating pandemic, Twigs says that she was almost done with music. However, CAPRISONGS is a warm look at how dancing, embracing anxieties, and the comfort of friends healed her.
“like a shake from someone telling you to wake up and feel the sun”
Beginning with ride the dragon, Twigs gets right to the point saying, “Hey, I made a mixtape for you”. The quick “Really-wanna-kiss-me-kiss-me” of the chorus is full of flutes and scratchy synths. The mystique of Twigs radiates out of this track, perfectly setting the album up as one that is lively and engaging. The third track on the album, meta angel, bookmarks the transformation of herself. The song is a look at the light Twigs searched for at the end of the tunnel full of her past tribulations. The meta angel she sings about is the guide she was yearning for during this time, that she eventually, found in herself. Lightbeamers shares a similar sentiment. “Are you running from your life?” begins the pre-chorus. At this point, Twigs’ uses this song as a wake-up call. The production on the track, by El Guincho & Jasper Harris, weaves gentle piano keys with nuanced beats. The song feels fresh and like a shake from someone telling you to wake up and feel the sun.
Tracks for crying in the club
Despite the inspiration for the project coming from a dark time in Twigs’ life, the album is quite dancey through the first half and a complete 180 to most of the work in her discography. The afrobeat influences throughout the album are an exciting addition to her usually classical metallic aesthetic. Co-producer of the album, El Guincho, can be credited for the dancehall-tinged sound on the album – most notably on honda and papi bones. In these songs, she uses her voice in a way we have yet to see from her. Her tone is richer and fuller. Because of this, the theme of carefreeness, dancing, and loving strongly comes through.
In papi bones Twigs explores the mezzo-soprano side of her voice and sounds completely untroubled while Shygirl smoothly delivers her verse. Overall, the track is buoyant and upbeat. Even the lead single, ironically titled “tears in the club,” has an uplifting feeling to it. It feels like dancing away heartbreak. It is what you want to hear in the club while you take a shot with your girls to forget all the bullshit you’re dealing with. Moreover, Twigs is pushing the way her music sounds with these tracks. After a heart-wrenching project like Magdalene, you would never expect this from her. However, it’s a reflection of the best part of healing – you feel light.
“a come down from the high of the night”
Nonetheless, near the latter half of the album, the theme of loss glides into the tracklist. The disorienting which way flutters in a little over halfway through the album. It is a come down from the high of the night – right before the sun peaks out from the horizon. More so, the track is sobering but in a gentle way. This song perfectly transitions into jealousy, the second single from the mixtape. A soft dancehall beat weaves throughout it as a call back to the energy experienced at the beginning of the album. Here, we see the acceptance stage of grief with jealousy. Continuing onto careless Twigs and Daniel Ceasar absolutely delivered on this track. The slowest track on the mixtape, this one is filled with gorgeous harmonies between both artists. Ceasar backs up Twigs at the last chorus creating a crescendo of emotion – it is definitely a highlight of the album.
A sincere thank you to her collaborators
At this point, the album loses some steam. The lyrically flat minds of men and couple of interludes definitely slow down the momentum of the album. Darjeeling with Jorja Smith and Unknown T is great in terms of vocals and lyrics from all artists. Together with the production, there is an effortless breeze felt throughout it. Finally, Twigs gives a farewell thank you with the finale track of the project: thank you song. Using the lush orchestral production of Arca, Twigs gets very honest with this one. The song is a heartfelt love letter to her old self, and to the numerous collaborators on CAPRISONGS. She explains that “love in motion” saved her. Thank you song is a heavy closer to an otherwise inviting album, but it is real. No longer is there a facade of happiness, but rather a true look at how love from others in music eased her pain.
CAPRISONGS feels like medicine for Twigs. First, the sprinkling of voice memos from friends and collaborators throughout the album are sweet reminders of love, and the danceability of the project is actually love in motion. While Twigs does tap into her sad-girl here and there that’s just the honesty of discovering happiness. She faultlessly self-reflects about what she wants on this album. CAPRISONGS is exactly where Twigs is at with her life, and she does not care if you take it or leave it. Altogether it is absolutely the most fun we have seen Twigs have on a project. Regardless of minor pitfalls, CAPRISONGS is fresh, exciting, and a new look at the mystifying FKA Twigs.