FKA twigs took to Instagram to give fans a taste of what her new mixtape is like: “It’s bronzer in the sink, alcopop on the side … a club pre-game … your bestie who is always late but brings the most to a party.”
This is not the singer-songwriter from south London’s usual MO when it comes to building a project. A commercially angled medley of songs intended to accompany drinking, laughing and dancing is in relatively stark contrast to her usual themes of heartbreak and melancholy.
The shift in approach is also reflected by the Caprisongs artwork, on which she’s adorned in glittering jewellery, pulling down her bottom lip to reveal the acronym GOAT written on her teeth. Again, in stark contrast to her 2019 LP Magdalene, where her face seems troubled and eerily distorted.
Nonetheless, her signature experimental sound rings through the new mixtape, and Tahliah Barnett invites an A-list cast of collaborators to the party.
Things start as they mean to go on with ride the dragon, an energetic, optimistic track in which she sings: “Cause I’ve been skipping through the city, feeling pretty with nobody to get on”. Perhaps a nod towards her newfound attitudes towards dating following the accusations of abuse she suffered at the hands of ex-boyfriend Shia LeBeouf, allegations he has denied.
The mixtape evolves with the introduction of up-and-coming British rapper Pa Salieu, who had an excellent 2021 that looks likely to continue into this year.
Single tears in the club featuring The Weeknd is probably the standout track of the project and again reinforces FKA twigs’ renewed sense of freedom she feels following relationship breakdowns with LeBeouf and Robert Pattinson, with whom she was engaged for two years between 2015 and 2017.
Afrobeat and dancehall vibes are strong in tracks papi bones featuring Shygirl and jealousy featuring Rema, further hinting at her new direction, but her ability to reinvent the framework of what a pop star actually is remains one of FKA twigs’ most intriguing qualities.
She has relished in the space between pop star and artist since the ground-breaking LP1 in 2014 that brought her international recognition, and despite a more commercially orientated approach this time around, Caprisongs still doesn’t feel like a Doja Cat or a Dua Lipa record. Her fluttering vocals sound almost ethereal and flawlessly hit every note, a style she has championed over the years.
Track 15 out of 17 darjeeling features two of the UK’s hottest artists in Jorja Smith and Unknown T is an ode to the British capital and forms another strong track from the 48-minute-long mixtape.
There’s a lot of positivity coursing through Caprisongs, and FKA twigs’ newfound malleable approach to her sound shows her maturity and growth as an artist. Some songs are more suitable for the soundtrack to your weekend pregame, but the mixtape is another absorbing episode in the genre-bending artist’s diverse career.