BY TIM SCHAUF, STAFF WRITER
MAGDALENE is the sonification of the emotions of an amorous mind. Phases of love are interwoven in such a way that listening to this album front to back becomes a visceral recreation of romance at its peaks and valleys. Many moments in this album hit me with the weight of a lover scorned, frustrated both with the actions of a former love interest as well as disappointment in themself for listening to a heart constantly fooled into feeling like it has finally found “the one.” These moments coexist with moments of euphoria reminiscent of that moment of realization that you are in love. The pure ecstasy of feeling reciprocated adoration that can entangle every facet of one’s existence — and blind them to the inevitable collapse that always seems to follow. As much as it feels good to give love to a person, it feels embarrassing and frustrating when that love fades to reveal two people at different points of their journey.
One of my favorite moments that exemplifies this is the song “home with you,” opening with what feels like raw frustration, but after a minute and half, brings in a refrain that impresses lonely heartbreak on the first time around. After another verse of distorted vocals, the second refrain turns that loneliness to a brighter and more angelic symphony of sound. The final line “I would’ve told you I was lonely too” stuck with me. The happiness that stems from being able to find someone that struggles in the same areas as you do can add fuel to the spiraling thoughts that all too easily consume a broken heart. The track itself carries each of these emotions, but on an album level, FKA twigs uses an incredible sense of emotional progression to translate these feelings into an ethereal and captivating 39 minutes — that are sure to carry me through many phases of my life. The track “holy terrain” gives the mind respite early on the track list. It parallels a bounce-back night out after a breakup. The moody trap influence, aided by a Future feature, creates a sexy yet disorienting experience that is one of my favorite moments on the album. Another highlight is the pairing of “mirrored heart” that fades out before “daybed” fades in. The former feels like a walk through the part of town you used to visit with an ex, where the latter feels like a mindful processing of the day required once you get home.
Overall, the spacey, frantic and distorted production, haunting vocals and the devastating lyrics all add beautifully into what I think is an incredible addition to FKA twigs already stellar discography. I enjoy every track on this album, though I don’t think it is quite perfect. I wish it had more moments like “holy terrain” that could pull my mind out of the barren wilderness of emotion that it creates. At times, listening front to back seems like it all washes together. That isn’t necessarily entirely bad, but I do think it hurts my personal listening experience a bit.
Nonetheless, MAGDALENE excels at guiding me through grief, hope, despair and frustration. It feels like an album made for lovers of all kinds, mirroring the soaring highs and tragic lows that love can bring to life.
PLEASE NOTE: All albums are reviewed on a scale from one to ten, with ten being the highest possible score. All views expressed here are the author’s own.