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Review: FKA Twigs showcases dazzling candy-pop on ‘Caprisongs’

Photo courtesy Young

By Imogen Brown     1/18/22 11:39pm

Rating: ★★★★

Top track: “oh my love”

“Hey, I made you a mixtape / Because when I feel you, I feel me / And when I feel me, it feels good,” breathes FKA Twigs in “ride the dragon,” the first track on her latest album, “CAPRISONGS.” Released on Jan. 14, “CAPRISONGS” is a love letter to friendship, music, adventure, collaboration and, most of all, to Twigs herself. A drastic departure from the divine, heartrending emotion of “MAGDALENE,” its follow-up is a blitzy, feature-filled mirage of candied pop. Described by Twigs as “bronzer in the sink, alco pop on the side, a cherry lolly… a club pre-game, meeting a friend at the airport, just togetherness,” the album is studded with plastic rhinestones. Though “CAPRISONGS” sporadically falls prey to underdeveloped interludes and forgettable songs, its otherworldly synth frenzy renders it a respectable recovery mixtape. 

With her first two tracks, “ride the dragon” and “honda,” Twigs sets the stage on the club floor. Jarring trap beats and repetitive lyrical refrains leave us wondering where the lonely, gut wrenching balladry of “MAGDALENE” went. “So if you really wanna kiss me / Do it quickly ’fore the end of the song,” Twigs flirts, demonstrating the carefree, no-nonsense tone that dominates the album.  Forever the alien artist, Twigs opens “CAPRISONGS” by reminding us of her ability to skirt the edges of what is mainstream while floating just above what is earthly. 

“Meta angel,” reveals a restorative vulnerability, as it begins with peals of warm laughter from Twigs’ friends. “Throw it in the fire / Ego in the fire,” she belts, using her raw, sensitive voice to evoke the triumph of knowing her wounds have healed. “Tears in the club,” another fan favorite, is a bubblegum joyride filled with all the happy delirium of a rave, while “oh my love,” establishes a vivacious maturity. Throughout the album’s first half, Twigs’ trademark silky thin voice shines through a bedrock of thick, rich-sounding beats, resulting in an auditory experience not unlike swallowing Poprocks.

Despite the crisp funkiness of its beginning tracks, “CAPRISONGS” limitations lie in its forgettability. Stumbling over time-killing conversational interludes and inconsistent song structures, the project tends to lose itself in an attempt to cultivate a very specific aura of sparkle and crunch. Certain tracks reflect simplistic bids for a catchy chorus rather than well developed verses, while others are headache-inducing in their unrelenting insistence on merciless trap rhythms. Though “lightbeamers” is a beautiful showcase of Twigs’ vocal talent, subsequent tracks fall off the beaten path, getting lost in a cloud of glittery sound bites and pseudo-profound pieces of dialogue. “which way” is Grimes-esque in its nonsensicality yet lacks the core melody needed to unify its dissociative threads, while “jealousy” seems akin to the contrivance of an underwhelming Y2K-inspired song that the world forgets within a week of its release. By the end of the record, Twigs manages to rediscover her direction with “darjeeling” and “thank you song.”

Throughout the album, FKA Twigs washes us in a tunefully ecstatic journey of growth, love and community. Against the backdrop of “MAGDALENE”, a harrowingly beautiful open wound released in the context of two traumatic, high profile relationships, Twigs takes the opportunity to show us how far she has come. Her love for those around her and for musical experimentation and introspection is reflected in the euphoric hall-of-mirrors that is “CAPRISONGS” as Twigs urges us to call up our friends and dance our problems away. 

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