Album Review: FKA twigs – CAPRISONGS
Tilly Attrill reviews the new FKA twigs album, CAPRISONGS.
I wish I could listen to FKA twigs’ last album, MAGDELENE, for the first time again purely because it is so heart-breakingly beautiful. CAPRISONGS, her latest release, a mixtape of 17 songs released in early January, is much more joyful yet still retains the beauty that you expect from the performer – as a viral tweet describing her work put it, it’s all very ‘Twigsian’. The mixtape has a clear theme – rebirth, self-love and growth. Where MAGDELENE was an introspective record, using the story of Mary Magdalene to recount a public breakup and surgery she had to remove fibroid tumours, CAPRISONGS looks outwards and invites us into twigs’ world.
The theme of rebirth and loving yourself is highlighted particularly well in the music video for ‘meta angel’, where twigs learnt how to shoot a bow and arrow so that she could shoot herself in the heart while questioning the person she was and exploring who she is: “I’ve got voices in my head/telling me I won’t make it far / where’d you go?” With backing vocals including Lous and the Yakuza, the fifth track on the mixtape, ‘oh my love’, ends with a declaration of reassurance in tune with the rest of the mixtape. After twigs has explored wanting a relationship but being unsure how to go forwards, a message reminds listeners, and twigs herself, that ‘these are your golden years, so have fun’.
this project feels like it was fun for twigs to make and experiment with
Throughout the mixtape, snippets of conversations with friends accompany the music. These snippets bring a humour which hasn’t been present on any of twigs’ other work and introduces us to a new side of her: a shyer and more inward-looking twigs who questions and explores her identity with her friends. Despite the more mainstream pop sound of this piece of work, these snippets create an intimacy and warmth which brings you into her inner circle.
One of my favourite tracks on the mixtape, ‘pamplemousse’ acknowledges the hype surrounding an unreleased collaboration from twigs and Dua Lipa, ‘Why Don’t You Love Me?’ A fan asks, ‘Okay twigs, I know everyone probably annoys you about this… make my wish come true!’ Since the first and only performance of this track at Lipa’s virtual concert at the end of 2020, fans have been begging for the track to be released, and maybe this is a sign it’s coming… or maybe twigs is just playing us.
Obviously with a title like CAPRISONGS, and themes of self-love and rebirth appearing throughout the record, it’s unsurprising that astrology is referenced more than once on the mixtape. Even though I have no real idea what my own sign actually means and feel like mercury is constantly in retrograde (I have no idea what this means), these little references, like the voice note snippets laced through the mixtape, add to the fun of CAPRISONGS.
a joyous celebration of twigs, her artistry, and her ability to make music that draws a line between being both mainstream and experimental.
By collaborating with multiple artists, from Jorja Smith to Shygirl, from the outside listening in, this project feels like it was fun for twigs to make and experiment with, removed from the introspection and vulnerability of MAGDALENE. And if you want to know which track most relates to your zodiac sign, you can find out here.
CAPRISONGS is a joyous celebration of twigs, her artistry, and her ability to make music that draws a line between being both mainstream and experimental. It’s fun and makes you want to dance, and for a body of work produced on FaceTime calls and over the internet, the mixtape celebrates close friends and relationships, with yourself and others, and the value of knowing your worth in an unexpectedly intimate way. It’s a contrast to the darker and more examining MAGDALENE, and it will be interesting to see the direction she heads in next. More than that, I can’t wait to see what she learns to do next – from pole dance to archery, what can’t she do?