Released on the 8th of November, Magdalene, FKA Twigs’ second album labelled Young Turks could be summed up like a precious, outspoken record of the failure of a strenuous relationship everyone gossiped about, assembling the pieces and the repeated hatred waves, realizing how many processes we take for granted, and how many obstacles we must face with a body that proves to be recalcitrant, that obeys the dictates of illness rather than our will. In these terms, coming to the core of her own vulnerability and a long process of self-analysis, what separates M3LL155X from MAGDALENE is an Olympic cycle of rediscovery in which we detect new balances with an irreparably different physicality and an interiority deeply shaken, as a result of new stimuli arisen from wrath-filled desires. The second full-length chapter is an account of a slow recovery, an introspective, cathartic work, which doesn’t renounce to the cross-genre experimentation of the previous songs, but that turns it into a record with a strong symbolic value, mature and aware.
The album starts with Thousand Eyes, where silky vocals are centrifuged with solemn melodies, free-flowing in an ecclesiastical mood that aims to become a chant. If I walk the door, It starts our last goodbye, she sings. Her frantic voice peels out of a cloud of hair-rising, ceremonious choir made of her own reverbs.
In Home with you the English songwriter shouts her affliction for all the industry and fandom who bailed out on her, 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, she eerily intones. She confidently bags her incantation out whilst all her doubts bash in, sadly in line with a world that is used to demands for more and more, untill reaching the emptiness and calling it the artistic failure.
And so here is that Mary Magdalene, in the archetypal strength of her character and in the manipulation of her story, becomes the thematic fulcrum of a record rooted in feminine symbolism , based on the extraordinary strength of her example. An ancient and contemporary personality at the same time, who has exercised and continues to exert a magnetic fascination, translated into the most varied expressive modalities: a model of dignity and courage, the British artist transports various elements within her experience, a game of mirrors that go well beyond the lyrical profile.
The track sad day belts up its ghostly, murmured, vociferous singing to Tori Amos‘ dainty and charming tunes. Her delicacy bleeds out to a gust of beats that bogs the listener in, bolstered up by assertive lyrics that begin and end with whispers, but escalate to a craze of electro bliss
Concurrently Holy terrain borders on Kate Bush‘s audacious experiments (Experiment IV) and bowls over, once again, because of its unconventional structure, clearly identified with the equally unorthodox character mentioned
Beyond the new, heavy, baggage of reflections, never so introspective before, she doesn’t give up its unclassifiable traits but becomes more enveloping, possibly more dynamic, caressing the avant-garde as well as measuring its versatility in pop territories. Once again coordinator of a sumptuous cast of collaborators (among the many Nicolas Jaar, Daniel Lopatin, Skrillex), Twigs succeeds again in the enterprise to bend attitudes and aesthetics to the ends of a unitary project, of a single vision, delineated with analogous conviction to the previous tests.
Over here the singer from Tewkesbury casts off and heads out to pure awareness (Mirrored Heart): Fallen alien buckles down into new territories, with an incorporeal echoing over a trembling tuneful line. Cellophane portraits the suffering of a woman fighting back her fears like a samurai, who refuses to cave in despite of the weight of her agony. The song itself chokes up in a captivating, brutal bliss that takes the breath away.
What remains, after the fall and the ascent of Tahliah Barnett’s universe , is a lyrical squall that confirms her to be an outstanding genius of our time and an artist unwilling to brick her knack up into one only genre or a simplistic definition. A true alien, fallen to Earth from a mysterious place, but ready to share the strength of her testimony.