Following up 2019’s “Magdalene” is a tough ask for FKA Twigs. With two albums since 2014, both garnering massive acclaim, Twigs’ album releases are a musical event. The latest project from the Grammy winner, “Caprisongs,” breaks from Twigs’ artistic past and thrives by not continuing “Magdalene,” but separating itself entirely.
The first track, “ride the dragon” is more than an intro — it’s an incredibly meta acknowledgement of what the project will be. The closest track to “LP1” sonically, its opening lyrics, “Hey, I Made you a mixtape…/I’m still that mysterious b*tch/no one does it like I do” couldn’t give a clearer mission statement for a fun side project.
No Twigs project is complete without magnificent vocals and stellar production. Twigs is one of the best vocalists in modern music and “Caprisongs” delivers some of her more unique performances. Tracks like “minds of men” and “thank you song” show this, as her vocals shine despite bouncing between genres.
“Caprisongs” production matches this vocal excellence. While longtime collaborator Arca returns and Kendrick Lamar’s go-to producer Sounwave provides production help, “Caprisongs” deviates from Twigs’ formula.
Previous projects double as a collection of the producing worlds A-List, but Twigs’ first mixtape takes the production work into its creators own hands, along with help from underground producers.
Twigs’ first mixtape also dabbles in a more accessible sound than previous albums. The project’s lead single “tears in the club” is an incredible collection of talent, featuring The Weeknd with Arca’s one-of-a-kind electropop production that makes it an incredible hit.
Normally a curator of her own style, Twig’s influences are the driving force instead. An England native, the British music scene is a key inspiration for the project. Charli XCX-inspired hyperpop and the booming British rap scene are among the most notable influences.
Charli’s influence can be extremely noticeable at times and not for the better —“meta angel” is just too on the nose. The added rap elements were stronger and Shygirl and Pa Salieu were great features.
Far from the only influences, Ariana Grande style ad-libs are noticeable throughout and some of the slower moments have Pharrell Williams production influence. With so many outside styles seemingly influencing “Caprisongs,” the tape does unfortunately dilute some of Twigs’ signature art pop sound.
Features can dictate song styles more than they should. It is a testament to Twigs’ talent just how easily she can outdo artists at the sounds they’ve spent years creating.
The interludes on “Caprisongs” commit a common slip that most artists who drift into mixtape territory make.
There’s no need to force three interludes and several spoken word intros/outros on the world. Just put the various “the universe is so powerful,” astrology stuff on one track.
With a much looser and poppier approach than Twigs’ past releases, “Caprisongs” does not meet its creators high bar, but that’s the point. Twigs’ first mixtape is still a delight and enjoyable enough to hold audiences over until a third album is ready and few will make a better project than this in 2022.