By Griffin Brammer, Digital Communications Manager
While FKA Twigs is perhaps best known for her slow, melodic songs that blur the lines between electronic hyper pop and avant-garde the opening track, “ride the dragon,” makes it clear that the listener is in for the unexpected. The song starts out familiar enough with its lo-fi beat and Twigs’ slow, falsetto vocals building upon the background vocals. Soon, the bass drops, and Twigs bursts into a fast-paced, energetic performance accompanied by the sound of flute and Asian-inspired strings.
There’s still enough of Twigs in this song for it to be recognizable, such as her esoteric choir of background vocals over the titular lyric and the reverberating closing lines at the end. From this opening number, however, it’s clear we are in for a whole new side of Twigs.
Something to note about CAPRISONGS is the number of featured artists accompanying Twigs throughout. The second song, “Honda”, is no exception, featuring Pa Salieu. While Salieu’s stark British accent is slightly jarring at best during his rap verse, it is Twigs’ voice that is perhaps most surprising. Right off the bat, she replaces her signature airy, angelic tone with a smoother, more sensual voice that at times sounds akin to that of other female pop power players like Doja Cat.
Unfortunately, Salieu’s underwhelming addition remains much the same for the rest of the features, with there being not much to really write home about compared to Twigs’ new style of vocals.
Even the biggest feature on the album, The Weeknd, delivered a less-than-memorable addition to the song “tears in the club.” In theory, both artists’ histories of melodic harping and impressive vocal range would make a musical match made in heaven. However, with Twigs trying a new sound for this album, it almost feels like The Weeknd is toning it down to match her energy.
Ultimately, “tears in the club” is an objectively good song, and it truly shines when Twigs returns to her bass-backed falsettos. Otherwise, it feels too safe and too “Top 50,” considering Twigs’ history of breaking musical boundaries.
For me, one of the best songs off the album comes in the form of “lightbeamers,” as it combines the best of both old and new Twigs. Musically, it contains much of the same composition and pacing as traditional Twigs with the same obvious experimental elements that made LP1 and MAGDALENE so iconic.
However, the song is blended perfectly to match Twigs’ new vocal aesthetic, and it truly highlights the aesthetic in a way that pushes it to the forefront and makes it stand out just as uniquely as her old sound. Mixed with snippets of that hauntingly-beautiful falsetto she’s become known for, this song makes for a much better introduction to the new Twigs than any previous song on the album.
CAPRISONGS is an album of healing. Twigs is done with the heartbreak of her MAGDALENE era and is moving on to a time of self love and exploration. While I commend her for that, I wish that didn’t come at the expense of losing what made Twigs such a boundary-breaker. This album feels almost too safe — a more digestible electronic album for newer fans of the genre.
All hope is not lost though, and the second half slowly starts to feel like a fresh take on classic Twigs and is a must listen for longtime fans, even if just once.