ALBUM RATING: 84
Rather than attempt to recapture the ethereality of what in my opinion was 2019’s album of the year, Twigs’ vibrant new mixtape introduces a more effervescent side to her art. Albeit a stark contrast with the sensational ‘MAGDALENE’, ‘CAPRISONGS’ flaunts Twigs’ diversity as an artist, which sees her continuously push boundaries when it comes to experimental pop. Collaborating with artists outside of her sphere on ‘CAPRISONGS’, Twigs not only explores new genres, but also implements her progressive expertise, once again showing why she’s considered one of the more avant-garde artists of this generation.
Up until this point in her career, Twigs has been somewhat of an enigma, with the abstract concepts portrayed throughout her first two albums reinforcing the compelling nature of her art. ‘CAPRISONGS’, however, divulges a great deal about her roots, inspirations, and personal relationships, providing an insight into the woman behind the art. By peeling layers off of her persona, Twigs is able to provide an authentic portrayal of her journey towards self-confidence, while also integrating conversations with the same friends she’s stated to be a major inspiration for the mixtape.
While I do expect an incline in post-pandemic albums revolving around the idea of spiritual rediscovery, I don’t expect many to capture the essence quite as uniquely as Twigs. Embracing her ethnic descent and Jamaican bloodline on ‘papi bones’, Twigs brilliantly captures the spirit of dancehall, from the reggae air horn, right down to the cathartic rhythms. However, ‘CAPRISONGS’ inspiration extends beyond her Jamaican roots, with the reminiscent ‘darjeeling’ paying equal tribute to the city which embraced her artistic endeavours and shaped her as the woman she is today. With a guest verse from U.K. drill artist Unknown T, as well as direct nods to “Crystal Palace” and “Croydon College”, ‘darjeeling’ epitomises the welcoming, yet solitude atmosphere of inner-city London. Jorja Smith’s equally personal verse devoted to her hometown, Walsall, provides some outstanding harmonies, showing just how diverse drill instrumentals can be.
If anything, ‘CAPRISONGS’ allows Twigs to flaunt her incredible vocal range, as well as demonstrate the ease with which she’s able to adjust her style when collaborating with a diverse range of artists. This versatility instigates remarkable chemistry throughout the mixtape, whether this be the infectiously sassy collaboration with Pa Salieu on ‘honda’, or the afrobeat inspired ‘jealousy’ performed with Rema. Despite the scope of stylistic lanes covered across these 17 tracks, the mixtape remains a concise body of work due to the futuristic hyperpop elements, which help tie the contrasting genres together as one.
Amid moments of eccentricity such as the skittish IDM ‘pampelmousse’, and the appregiated vocals on ‘which way’, Twigs reminds us how heavenly her falsetto vocals are on tracks such as ‘lightbeamers’, in which she dedicates to the “hard dreamers” in spine-tingling fashion. A similar atmosphere is created on ‘meta angels’, before switching to a heavy Charli XCX inspired vocal effect, beautifully demonstrating how her vocals can be utilised in multiple ways to establish the ambience of a song.
Besides the underwhelming collaboration with The Weeknd on ‘tears in the club’, which saw both artists confined to ‘safe’ parameters by their standards, ‘CAPRISONGS’ doesn’t do much else wrong. Overall FKA Twigs has delivered an incredibly vibrant, energetic mixtape, yet despite its frantic nature, it remains a cohesive body of work, which leaves me intrigued to see which direction she takes next. Exciting times.
Favourite Tracks: ride the dragon, honda (feat. pa salieu), meta angel, pampelmousse, lightbeamers, papi bones (feat. shygirl), careless (feat. daniel caesar)
Worst Tracks: tears in the club (feat. the weeknd)