The Best Albums of 2014: #13 FKA Twigs – LP1

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This is the sexiest album of the year. Straight up. LP1 is memorable for not just the haunting production from the likes of Arca, Emile Haynie, Paul Epworth and even Sampha, on top of stoically deep and dark lyrics by Twigs, but it’s also for the visual atmosphere that FKA Twigs builds within her music. Essentially, you can’t listen to LP1 without thinking about her movements, her dancing, her look. It’s synesthesia of the highest order, which we went in depth about in this April post. 

There was a lot at stake for LP1. Twigs had built up steam on EP2, largely on the massively popular song and video for “Water Me” (produced by Arca, video by frequent collaborator Jesse Kanda). I remember seeing her play at Glasslands in Brooklyn, which will go down as my last time visiting the soon-to-be defunct venue and it being the hardest concert ticket to get in all of New York. There was so much mystique around Twigs, who was a prolific music video back-up dancer for the likes of Kylie Minogue and Jessie J, before launching into her solo career, that everyone wanted to see her. It was a cryptic evening: the red lights were low, the smoke machine was on and she left us all jaw-dropped. She was one of the alpha girls for the electro-R&B movement alongside Banks and on a greater scale, Grimes. But where Banks fizzled on her debut LP into a clear product/pawn of the industry (shade, i know), FKA Twigs is in a class by herself.

This is artistic expression. There are maybe one or two other artists on this list (yet to be announced) that can pull off this type of art. She’s stunning. Case in point, the video for “Two Weeks”:

She performed this song, in similar fashion to the video on Jimmy Fallon and as the set ended, Fallon couldn’t contain himself: “Wow! I have NEVER seen anything like that!” It was genuine and a moment that resonated with me for sure, when I think about how affectatious FKA Twigs’ music is.

Paul Epworth’s lone production credit on LP1, is on “Pendulum,” and it’s a finely crafted work, with the meandering beat and Twigs coursing through it’s vibrations. On “Video Girl,” Haynie and Twigs weave a memoir of sorts, from her time as a music video dancer. It’s an honest journey into the brain of her 19-year old self, who she was and who she wated to be:

The camera loves you, ain’t that enough?
You’re craving for the whole universe
So nothing’s gonna get in your way
You’re gonna get yourself broke one day

It’s a window into the mind of a budding star. She was the best at her craft, but she yearned for more out of life and out of art. And like every track on this album, it has a distinct and powerful degree of sensuality. On “Lights On,” she’s a fierce lioness and shrieks:

When I trust you we can do it with the lights on
When I trust you we can do it with the lights on
When I trust you we’ll make love until the morning
Let me tell you all my secrets in a whisper ‘til the day’s done

Fuck. This is sexy stuff and it renders us uncontrollably drawn to her. Calm and demure, standing on stage, provocatively clad in leather and fishnet undergarments, moving erratically, yet in sheer fluidity. And I can’t get these visions out of my head when I listen to her music. It’s more than just an aural experience; it’s a full-on sensory exploration and sometimes it feels like she taps into 6th and 7th senses that I didn’t even know existed. She crashes wildly in and out of lyrical bars and I’m left speechless and in awe. Every time.

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