FKA twigs: MAGDALENE Album Review

todayDecember 19, 2019 45

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By Timia Cobb
Music Journalist

MAGDALENE is a self journey that fans are honored to take with FKA twigs. It earned its name from the biblical figure Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus Christ, who throughout history has been wrongly downplayed to be a prostitute, although the Bible never directly showed evidence to support these assumptions. Twigs was inspired to name her album MAGDALENE to represent how powerful women can be and the role Mary Magdalene played in the Bible.

MAGDALENE consists of nine songs, each being able to stand out in its own unique way. Each song harbors its own mood and story.  Every song will awaken different emotions; it quickly goes from ubeat loudness to slow desperate harmonies which makes MAGDALENE incredible. MAGDALENE is about life being chaotic but beautiful at the same time, and twigs is able beautifully depict this. 

“Cellophane” is a rare piece of art. The lyrics are simple, and with few words twigs portrays what it’s like to question a failed relationship that you invested your heart in. The backstory behind “Cellophane” is twigs past relationship with “Twilight” actor Robert Pattinson. The relationship received a lot of publicity due to Pattinson’s “Twilight” fanbase.

Twigs acquired a great deal of hate and racist remarks because of their bi-racial relationship. The two were engaged but broke off the engagement in 2017. Twigs nor Pattinson have directly said what the reason was for their break up but both have commented on the racist abuse twigs encountered. “Cellophane” is possibly the answer to the end of their relationship. 

The beginning of the song is very soft and melancholic as twigs sings, “Didn’t I do it for you? Why don’t I do it for you?Why won’t you do it for me? When all I do is for you?” She’s obviously asking someone else these questions but how she sings the lyrics makes it seem as though she is asking herself, asking what she did wrong and why the relationship isn’t working when all she does, she does for him. She gives away what and who she’s singing about when she sings, “They want to see us, want to see us alone. They want to see us, want to see us apart.” These lyrics makes listeners question who are “They?” They seem to be the bullies who directed racist remarks at twigs for being in a relationship with Pattinson.

After these lyrics are sung all the pieces start falling into place. Twigs is singing about being in a relationship with someone who comes with thousands of onlookers who don’t want to see her with him. The saddest realization is that this relationship could have ended differently, if it could’ve been just them. At the end of “Cellophane” in a vulnerable assuring voice twigs sings, “They’re waiting. They’re watching. They’re watching us. They’re hating. They’re waiting and hoping, I’m not enough.” She sings this in a way as if she’s confirming they’ve won.

“Home With You” has the range to be interpreted into so many different parables and also awakens an abundant amount of emotions, such as anger, longing and love. However, confirmed by twigs “Home With You” is about wanting to be there for everyone else while fighting to be there for yourself. The lyrics focus mainly on having self gain but then turning around and having to build someone else up as well. Twigs sings, “How come the more you have, the more that people want from you? The more you burn away, the more the people earn from you.”

“The more you pull away, the more that they depend on you.” The best way to describe this is finally feeling good or being in a good place in life then having to make sure everyone else is OK which threatens the happiness you just gained. The reason why this can be interpreted in so many different ways is because some believe because of the music video she chooses to care for herself but the lyrics says she took care of whoever needed her. 

“Sad Day” is one of those songs that is perfect to listen to on a rainy day while thinking about what ifs and past relationships. It isn’t completely clear what twigs might be singing about, but even though the name of the song is “Sad Day” the song makes you feel loved. It feels as if the song is reminiscing about the feeling of love that isn’t there anymore but felt so good when it was. The techniques twigs is able to do with her voice is also incredibly shown in the backgrounds and harmonies in this song. “Sad Day” shows that twigs, unlike some artists, knows how to use her voice to make art and not just to sing. 

“Fallen Alien” reminds me of a dark theatrical musical more than the electric pop genre twig’s  music has been placed in. The use of breath, crescendos and decrescendos and the dramatics in background vocals make it feel as though you’re listening to a song made for a dramatic climax in a play. “Fallen Alien” word by word is describing events, when twigs sings “In the blazing sun I saw you. In the shadows hiding from yourself. When the lights are on, I know you. See you’re grey from all the lies you tell. Now you hold me close so tender. I was waiting for you, I was outside. In the shadows hiding from yourself.” It’s heard as a story and when these lyrics are read it feels as though it’s being read from a piece of literature. This song is a masterpiece and just proves what a stunning lyricist twigs is.

MAGDALENE has been heavily on repeat for me since it dropped Nov. 8  and will continue to be because FKA twigs has completely outdone herself. MAGDALENE  is an album worth a listen and should be praised for being the art it truly is. 

Featured image via FKA twigs.

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