⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Lyrical Dexterity 4/5
⏱⏱⏱⏱ – Longevity 4/5
🎧🎧🎧🎧 – Production 4/5
🔥🔥🔥🔥 – 4/5 overall
Despite only having two albums under her belt, FKA Twigs has already been crowned by critics as “The queen of alternative R&B” for transcending the boundaries of the genre, most notably with her electronically-influenced classic ‘LP1’.
However, since her 2015 EP ‘M3LL155X’, she’s slowly been transitioning towards a more accessible sound. ‘MAGDALENE’ placed more emphasis on vocal performances compared to her debut, with the production taking a (slight) step back. It also saw her first ever guest feature in Future, which some fans were extremely abrasive towards. The lead single for CAPRISONGS, ‘Tears in the Club (ft. The Weeknd)’, is more akin to Abel’s sound than her own.
So, with that being said, if you saw the track list for CAPRISONGS prior to the mixtape’s release you’d be convinced that you’re in for a Twigs vastly different from anything we’ve heard from her before. How will we take to this dramatic change in creative direction? Will this be seen as her “selling out” moment?
The mixtape can be seen as an anthology of her friends’ relationship experiences whilst creating parallels to her own. It’s through these shared experiences that she feels connected to those around her.
CAPRISONGS defies all critique, being a 17-track banger that is arguably her most enjoyable project to date. She pre-emptively addresses the doubters on the bass-heavy intro ‘ride the dragon’ asserting that she’s “still a mysterious bitch, nobody does it like I do”. The mixtape can be seen as an anthology of her friends’ relationship experiences (from situationships and jealousy to being attracted to bad boys and women who can dance) whilst creating parallels to her own. It’s through these shared experiences that she feels connected to those around her (which she also alludes to in the intro).
We also see Twigs giving perspective and advice to those who may be going through similar scenarios on solo tracks such as ‘lightbeamers’, where she advises: “Tell yourself you love you so. Lay down your fears baby ain’t nobody die from a no”.
The skits and references throughout the mixtape give it an unapologetically British feel – we are presented with the catchy back-and-forth with Coventry’s Pa Salieu on ‘honda’, with odes to “M-ways” and “Rizla”. She then takes us back to her younger years when she moved London and attended Croydon College on ‘darjeeling’, accompanied by Jorja Smith (someone who moved to London) and Homerton’s Unknown T. Whilst a lot of the sounds explored on this mixtape is new territory for Twigs, she still manages to incorporate elements of her native sound on several tracks. ‘meta angel’ and the lo-fi ballad ‘careless’ with Daniel Caesar could easily find a home on LP1, whilst the closing track ‘thank you’ and ‘minds of men’ may remind listeners of MAGDALENE.
Despite most (if not all) of the project being made during isolation, the level of chemistry Twigs has with her features is remarkably excellent. She makes an effort to not only visit their worlds, but to incorporate them in her own. The afrobeat-influenced ‘jealousy’ with Rema and the dancehall track “papi bones” with Shygirl are perfect examples of this. The latter track may even have you wondering if Twigs is on the track, given how different she sounds here.
Even though this is just a mixtape and isn’t without flaws (looking at you, ‘pamplemousse’), I believe that CAPRISONGS is a very strong basis for Twigs to further explore some of the styles displayed on here on a future project. She’s shown that she can still sound amazing without the obscure and eclectic production, yet also incorporate unexpecting features on her traditional soundscape.