There are few times when you hear an album that you would describe as breathtaking. That the music feels so delicately and specifically chosen for one brief moment, that it comes off as an expressionist painting. It’s rare for most artists to release an album with the depth and weight of MAGDELINE, yet FKA twigs has done just that. Though it’s essentially the life of Mary Magdeline through the lens of today’s scope, the album places the British artist on a whole other level, placing her up there with acts that every artist praises with high regard.
Fashion this album as futurist R&B, avant-pop or art pop, your main goal should not be to categorize the work. It is beauty. It is harmony. It is weighted with very little brash and arranged in a very cinematic and orchestral way. Each note, each synthesized tone and each beat feels like a floating sound where the vocals make up the water in which it all exists. MAGDELINE is more than an album you can place into one genre, it is refined elegance.
The album has very little immediacy, so you’re forced to actually wait for the hit to come. While some songs do start in a way that grabs attention, it’s not done so in a way that is familiar. The way the album opens on “thousand eyes,” the vocals create a world to call you into. Met with large drums and a tone that feels like a night at the opera more than a pop album. There’s so much craft in the space between the carefully selected instruments, such a magnitude in what plays out. This, is the way the entire album comes off. Almost as if you’re having its story told to you in another language where stirring precision is the alphabet. “holy terrain feat. Future)” is one of the few tracks that isn’t this way, but it doesn’t deter you from the beauty within.
“fallen angel” has this emergent resonance, “mirrored heart” sounds like you’re experiencing it from the bottom of the ocean and “cellophane” has a tenderness that’s strikingly exquisite while still honing a graceful presence. There’s so much here that it’s difficult to encapsulate the well placed arrangements. In some ways it sounds like no one else, and in others what it reminds you of isn’t common in modern music. Of the nine tracks, our favorite came with “sad day.” The way the song opens with the vocals coming off like a child relating a secretive tale. The passive pacing gets crushed with synths that sparkle and beats that eviscerate all that came before them, before heading back to the subtle sounds that preceded them. MAGDELINE could have been anything, but it’s really an album that’s the kind of pop we wished were experienced more often.
MAGDELINE is available to stream on all platforms or to purchase digitally from all outlets. It can also be purchased physically directly from Young Turks. FKA twigs is on tour November 12 in Denver, CO at Mission Ballroom until December 03 in Carre, Amsterdam at Royal Theater. Her complete schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Young Turks.