ABOVE THE CURRENT
Before FKA twigs was the trailblazing musician we know today, she was a dancer. And although “musician” has become her main creative descriptor, she’s always incorporated dance-related projects into her albums which illustrate that she can be as athletic and vulnerable with her physical movements as she is with her vocals. On her latest release, the mixtape CAPRISONGS, dance isn’t merely adjacent but central to these songs, which carry her out of what seems to be a particularly dark period in her life. These tracks take place in the car with the speakers bleeding, bolstering immense bravado for a night out; on the dancefloor, when your favorite song inspires the urge to lose your breath; in the club bathroom when the alcohol nestles up against a sore emotional spot; and in the bedroom when the heartbeat of another provides incredible solace.
Each track feels as though she’s changing the channel at rapid speed, her own Inside Out characters donning Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier overwhelmed by a desire for feeling-yourself showmanship and a hopeless depression. Opener “ride the dragon” begins at a drooling pace as twigs proclaims that connection makes her feel most in tune with herself—and when that happens, it’s magic. “I’m still that mysterious bitch,” she proclaims as the song switches personality completely. Later, lead single “tears in the club” confronts the reality that a night out might not make all one’s problems go away, but it’s sure as hell more cathartic than wallowing at home. “Move your body to the rise of the sun / Let it out like therapy,” The Weeknd sings, winking to the project's title: twig’s Sun sign. The track’s production courtesy of Cirkut, Arca, and El Guincho grants us the perfect playground for salty tears to intermix with beads of endorphin-gleaming sweat.
CAPRISONGS is not only twigs’ debut mixtape, but the first release that demonstrates how she can step back from complex concepts that enliven her work and make music with herself at the center. In a way, these songs are revealing a part of twigs’ soul we’ve never been privy to. She dances through trauma on “tears in the club,” while at the opening of “meta angel” she opens up about the desire to be more confident, which then gets overshadowed by a combative shyness. Her friends playfully mock her, and then one expounds: “The universe is so powerful, you're gonna be more free, and you're gonna laugh more, and you're gonna have more fun.”
The tape was mostly put together during lockdown, with twigs spending hours with her collaborators over FaceTime. The interludes from fellow musicians and friends—ranging from inspirational chats to lessons learned about past lovers—might chop the consistency of the mixtape’s flow, but they mirror necessary moments of laughter and pep talks that took place regardless of whether we could make it to the bar on a Friday night.
The project’s closer, “thank you song,” is one of twigs’ most powerful tracks to date. “Love in motion seems to save me now,” she sings, her voice ballooning into the heavens. It’s not only the thesis to CAPRISONGS but twigs’ entire creative output. The contortion of limbs and the poetry of movement—whether her own or the ones attached to the bodies she’s inspired with her songs—have always been at the center. Dance is a language of love, with one’s body and the bodies of others. And, in reverse, love is its emotional movement—the way it darts, recedes, and blooms. On CAPRISONGS, FKA twigs makes clear that movement isn’t only a social language or path to catharsis, but also a life force.