Written Before Listen
FKA Twigs is a well-known UK artist with influences from R&B, Art Pop, and Ambient Pop to create some transcendental pop music. Her music is really good but I had a hard time connecting or grappling with it. I’ve always liked and appreciated her but never really revisited her music. On the other hand, I was looking forward to this mixtape because well….its a mixtape. The idea of Twigs doing a mixtape is a blessing in disguise but lets see what the outcome is, so without further ado, lets get right into it.
FKA Twigs is not the only person to mix alternative R&B and art-pop but she is one of those people. She also takes influence from those same people. Alongside the regulars like Frank Ocean, Solange, and Dirty Projectors, Twigs takes more of the James Blake route. A lot of her influences are led towards modern electronic and hip hop as well as experimental pop music from the 80s. Alongside that, she also takes influence from dancehall, 90s electronic and hyper pop as well to create a unique blend of pop, R&B, and electronic. I do think Twigs shows her influences in a good way but sometimes it does seem obvious.
Now let’s get into the production. There are differences between the bangers and the ballads. The bangers usually have a dancehall groove with some trap aesthetics blemished in and the ballads take the darker side of alternative R&B and put a dash of Neo-soul and trip-hop with it. Personally, I think the bangers are hit or miss as some of them hit and some of them just don’t co-align with Twigs’ voice. The ballads on the other hand are pretty good. The songs “meta angel” and “oh my love” are a mixture of a laid-back 90s track and a sensual R&B track. Twigs has really good songwriting chops but I do think (especially for this mixtape’s goal) she has some development to do
There are a lot of stylistic shifts brought on this mixtape and rightfully so because….its a mixtape. Some of the attempts are successful and others… don’t. Let’s start with some of the better ones. The song “Honda” is an afrobeat track with a lot of bounce and some hip-hop flare. The song “Oh My Love” I mentioned earlier is a smooth and sensual r&b cut with clean guitar, a sassy chorus, and a cool spoken word outro. The song “Pamplemousse” is a glitchy interlude-like track that I didn’t like at first but grew to enjoy. The song “Careless” featuring Daniel Ceaser is a nice Neo-soul vibe with two good contributions from Ceaser and Twigs herself. There is also the low-key and relaxing “thank you song” that ends the project on a positive note. Then there is the track “Papi Bones” which is when FKA Twigs does a sexy dancehall song that doesn’t succeed whatsoever. There is also the track “Darjeeling” which is a track that I enjoy but I thoroughly don’t know what this song is trying to be. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a UK Drill song or some footwork-inspired R&B track. Overall, I do think her genre-bending is a strong element of this mixtape, but it does come with its weak points.
Now let’s talk about the features on the album. The first one we get a glimpse of is pa salieu who is a British rapper and he kills his verse. We then get “tears in the club” with a bigger name…The Weeknd himself. The collaboration goes pretty well, to be honest as The Weeknd’s falsetto fits well with Twigs’ high-pitched range. We then get a 4 track run of features. “Papi Bones” with Shygirl isn’t a collab that goes well, Dystopia just does a spoken word, Remi does his thing on “jealousy” and Daniel Ceaser does a pretty good job being a dynamic style to Twigs on “careless”. The last set of features is on the song “Darjeeling” where Twigs and Jorja Smith croon over a UK Drill style beat alongside a feature from an actual UK Drill rapper, unknown t. Overall, I think most of the features fit on this album as Twigs has a good sense of what vibe goes with what.
First off, I think the mixtape is a strong balance of Twigs’ strengths, but nothing about this mixtape is super strong as there isn’t a song that I truly loved. There were songs I enjoyed and songs I liked, but nothing I loved. Don’t get me wrong, Twigs is a great musician and this mixtape shows some great promise, but it also shows that some development needs to be done.
This mixtape was pretty good. It wasn’t amazing by any means and as I said, there is a lot of room for improvement, but overall, most of the tracks are enjoyable and have some creative ideas presented. I think my takeaway from this project is that I enjoy Twigs, I like her music but I’ve yet to love something from hers yet. Maybe I just need to relisten to her albums, but for now, ill stick with saying, this mixtape is pretty good.