Showing posts with label fka twigs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fka twigs. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2019

video review: 'magdalene' by fka twigs

So yeah, long-overdue after a busy weekend - was actually planning to have this out on Friday, but given a pretty light schedule ahead, we're going with it here. Enjoy!

album review: 'magdalene' by fka twigs

The last time I reviewed FKA twigs, it didn't really go well.

And again, this is one of those cases where of course there was backlash, but it did feel a little unfair - I wanted to like a lot of what I had heard on LP1, I recognized it was genre-pushing and beautifully sung and featured some pretty fascinating and layered lyrical content... but tonally it just didn't click for me. And I've relistened to the album plenty of times in the years since trying to get into it, with the assumption that as I learned more about experimental music and R&B it'd click more strongly... and yet it just didn't. Hell, even though I wasn't really covering EPs in 2015 I tried giving M3LL155X a chance as well over the years, and while I was more accustomed to the sonic palette she was using - you can really hear the fingerprints of Boots all over it, in a similar way to how Arca's influence coloured LP1, it just didn't grip me, a project I respected a hell of a lot more than I liked - which can happen with experimental music, and I've always found backlash for that a little misguided.

And thus I was reticent to cover the new album... until I saw the list of producers, which seemed to imply she was going in a more accessible direction, or at least one where I had more inroads. Sure, the names that'd jump out are Benny Blanco and Skrillex and Sounwave and Kenny Beats and even Jack Antonoff, but the names that caught more of my interest were Oneohtrix Point Never and Nicolas Jaar, the latter of whom has made electronic music I've really liked this decade. And considering the production was often the sticking point for me, maybe this would click way better, so how was MAGDALENE?

Monday, August 11, 2014

video review: 'lp1' by fka twigs

Not giving this record as much critical acclaim as everyone else, but is still definitely worth your time for one of the best new talents of the genre.

Next up.. gah, need more time for Spoon and Dilated Peoples. Need another debut album... okay, stay tuned!

album review: 'lp1' by fka twigs

So let's talk about sex.

More specifically, let's talk about sex with regards to music. It's long been held that sex sells in some capacity, and you can point to dozens, if not hundreds of artists who have used sexuality in some way to sell their records. Tellingly, the number gets smaller when said sexuality is placed within the music and not just the image, and it gets smaller still when you discount the many acts who have simply made music about sex in order to titillate and nothing else. And if you want to shrink the number even further, discount all of the artists who use their music to talk around sex, using metaphors and symbolism to describe sex to get around censors or to make their songs have some additional class and poetry.

No, today we're going to be talking about a very small group of artists: those who use music that is written about sex and can even sound like sex, but in reality sex is the metaphor being used for other emotions driving the material. This is a much trickier balance to pull off, because sex is one of the most intimate, powerful, passionate experiences one can have in their lives, and using it to represent other things in art can be tricky indeed, mostly because the majority of audiences will simply focus on the sexual imagery and take things literally. You want a prime example of this dichotomy playing out in modern music? 'Do What U Want' by Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly - easily one of the best songs off of ARTPOP, and yet it suffers the frustrating lack of lyrical cohesion where Gaga is using sex as a metaphor to describe her tempestuous relationship with her audience and the press and how they judge her work, and then R.Kelly gets on the song and makes it, quite literally, about sex. And the startling thing is that R.Kelly is such a force of personality on the song that he can make even critics like myself think the song is really about sex all along.

So how do you get around problems like this? Enter FKA Twigs, with the 'FKA' standing for 'formerly known as' in order to get around a naming controversy with another artist. She started building serious buzz in the independent scene last year with her second EP through the Young Turks indie record label and a series of music videos that didn't shy away from thought-provoking imagery. And with a simply stunning voice, some fairly potent lyrics and instrumentation that blended spacious PBR&B and indie-electronica that recalled acts like James Blake, it was music that sounded like sex and yet seemed to be saying a lot more. So of course I picked up her debut album LP1, especially after the tidal wave of critical acclaim started pouring in...