As summer comes to a close, the haunting gaze of British-bred FKA Twigs adorning her August-released “LP1” can be seen on the pages of pretty much every music blog — and rightfully so. FKA Twigs’ debut album brilliantly combines the jarring and the calm to introduce the artist in a manner that exclaims, “This is whom I am, good luck figuring it out.” She cleverly settles the listener in just the right amount of ‘normal,’ in order to butter them up for the experiment she has manufactured. We are granted some familiarity in terms of lyrical content and angelic vocals, but that’s essentially where the ‘typical’ ends. We’re forced out of our roots into the peculiarity that is FKA Twig’s auditory world; it’s amazing.
“Lights On” is the first track following the discordant preface. Like many songs on the album, it builds at an alluring pace. While listening to the track, I like to imagine myself sitting in a completely white room, adorned with a giant question mark painted on one of the walls. The opening sounds lack consistency, but I can sense something melodious waiting to unfold. FKA Twigs begs you to question her. This opening randomness, reminiscent of some sort of bionic heart, leaves me desperate for her voice. This first verse provides me with a bit more stability, yet I continue to question the inconsistent background, as well as where her voice will take me. Returning to the white room I envision, I can hear her voice, but can’t quite tell where it’s coming from. It’s as though a dozen doors have appeared around the room and I’m not quite sure which door holds what I’m looking for, or even what it is that I am seeking — and then it happens. FKA Twigs runs through the center door and I’m dropped into the chorus, which instantly rounds out the track. She repeats “when I trust you we can do it with the lights on,” a rooted declaration which breaks from the lyrical uncertainty that had previously graced the white room. The track then continues to close and open the ‘FKA Twigs door,’ dragging us through uncertainty, only to return to the satisfying chorus.
Though it has slightly more body, “Two Weeks,” the album’s most talked about piece, follows this same pattern of leaving me asking questions while simultaneously declaring its strong presence. I think it’s something of a masterpiece. The track has an eerie vibe that goes hand in hand with FKA Twigs’ voice, yet the background support allows the track to exist as an undeniable jam. It’s one of those tracks that just fits. Play it as a catalyst for some sort of self-reflection, or when you’re driving down route 9 (I can’t drive but I imagine this would be pretty cool.)
At first I thought the track “Hours” was a little too discordant for my personal taste, but after listening to it a few times, which I recommend you do, I can’t help but respect the interesting dichotomy between the voluptuous lyrics “I could kiss you for hours” and the track’s overall stripped down nature. In true FKA Twigs fashion, “Pendulum” builds and falls in all the right places, and ushers the artist’s voice into some really pleasing harmonies. My favorite point was the first drop off after the chorus. The chorus builds to an abrupt pause before transitioning into the lyric “you forgot how we fell in love.” It’s as if she let herself get carried away with this romantic vent and needs to reroot herself before continuing onward.
“Video Girl” was one of my favorite tracks on the album because the beat never faces the abrupt distortion or disintegration present in some of the more stripped down songs. It’s only logical that “Video Girl” is one of the more beat-driven and powerful tracks, as it addresses the very soul of the album. FKA Twigs speaks to her former, perhaps regrettable identity as a music video girl. “Video Girl” doesn’t have much in common with Meghan Trainor’s radio hit “All About That Bass,” but that doesn’t stop it from being FKA Twig’s own self confidence anthem. It’s essentially a rugged declaration that this video girl identity is merely a lie, and she’s choosing to move beyond it.
“Numbers,” though addressing different subject matter, also takes on FKA Twigs’ confidence. The sound throughout put me a little on edge, which I find completely appropriate for the lyrical content. She interrogates the subject “was I just a number to you?” and “Why you gotta go and make me cry?” I imagine the jarring track was a pretty rude awakening for whomever it is written about. To put it simply, I loved everything about the track “Closer.” It was a pretty up-tempo beat, yet the vocals sound as if they are rising from the mouths of tiny angels. She lets you bite into the beat, while the vocals simply glide by you, and it’s completely satisfying. I’d say “Give Up” is the smoothest track off the album, but that doesn’t make it any less of an experimental piece. The variation in vocals definitely had me asking all the right questions. “Kicks,” the album’s final track, utilizes a perfectly magnetic method. It’s the ideal combination of desperation and strength. The rather gentle repetition of “what do I do when you’re not here?” fits perfectly alongside the gritty beat. The track comes complete with a variation on the chorus that depicts an ideal amount of raw emotion in a really interesting manner.
With “LP1,” FKA Twigs has essentially declared herself the queen of combining auditory comfort with rawness. Hers is a genius debut. The album is filled with declarations of self, both in terms of her career and personal life, yet it does not reveal exactly what the “FKA Twigs concept” is. The mystery of the artist even leaks into her covers, like the recently released remake of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” It’s a challenging feat to introduce yourself in a manner that is certain but still leaves millions of unanswered questions. FKA Twigs has done just that.