Magdalene (album)

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Magdalene
FKATwigs Magdalene.png
Studio album by
Released8 November 2019 (2019-11-08)
Recorded2016–2019[1]
Studio
Genre
Length38:48
LabelYoung Turks
Producer
FKA Twigs chronology
M3LL155X
(2015)
Magdalene
(2019)
Singles from Magdalene
  1. "Cellophane"
    Released: 24 April 2019
  2. "Holy Terrain"
    Released: 9 September 2019
  3. "Home with You"
    Released: 7 October 2019
  4. "Sad Day"
    Released: 4 November 2019

Magdalene (stylised in all caps) is the second studio album by English singer and songwriter FKA Twigs. It was released on 8 November 2019 by Young Turks. It is her first project since her EP M3LL155X (2015), and first full-length record since LP1 (2014). FKA Twigs produced the album herself, with a wide range of co-producers including Nicolas Jaar, Koreless, Daniel Lopatin, Skrillex, Benny Blanco, Michael Uzowuru and Noah Goldstein, who also served as executive producer alongside Twigs.

The singles "Cellophane", "Holy Terrain" featuring American rapper Future, "Home with You", and "Sad Day" were released on 24 April, 9 September, 7 October, and 4 November, respectively. The album will be supported by the Magdalene Tour, beginning in North America on 2 November and continuing in Europe on 25 November.

Background[edit]

On 9 September 2019, FKA Twigs announced that her second studio album Magdalene would be released on 25 October; the album preorder and track listing were made available the same day. The album cover was designed by English artist Matthew Stone.[3]

Barnett wrote in a press release announcing her second studio album:

I never thought heartbreak could be so all-encompassing. I never thought that my body could stop working to the point that I couldn't express myself physically in the ways that I have always loved and found so much solace. I have always practiced my way into being the best I could be, but I couldn't do that this time, I was left with no option but to tear every process down. But the process of making this album has allowed me for the first time, and in the most real way, to find compassion when I have been at my most ungraceful, confused and fractured. I stopped judging myself and at that moment found hope in Magdalene. To her I am forever grateful.[4]

Promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

The lead single "Cellophane" was released on 24 April 2019.[5] The second single "Holy Terrain" featuring American rapper Future was released on 9 September.[3] "Home with You" was released on 7 October after the album's release date was pushed from 25 October to 8 November.[6] "Sad Day" was released on 4 November.[7]

Tour[edit]

For the Magdalene album tour, FKA Twigs learned pole dancing and wushu.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.5/10[9]
Metacritic88/100[10]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[11]
The Daily Telegraph5/5 stars[12]
The Guardian3/5 stars[13]
The Independent4/5 stars[14]
NME5/5 stars[15]
The Observer4/5 stars[16]
Pitchfork9.4/10[17]
Q4/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[19]
The Times4/5 stars[20]

Magdalene was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 88, based on 28 reviews.[10] Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it 8.5 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.[9]

Heather Phares of AllMusic gave a positive review, stating "At once more delicate and more concentrated than any of her previous work, Magdalene is a testament to the strength and skill it takes to make music this fragile and revealing. Like the dancer she is, Barnett pushes through pain in pursuit of beauty and truth, and the leaps she makes are breathtaking."[11] Alexandra Pollard of The Independent said, "The follow-up to 2014's LP1 is the sound of a woman teetering on the brink of collapse, gathering herself, and then erupting into a kind of defiance."[14] Magdalene was named "Album of the Week" by The Line of Best Fit, and reviewer Jack Bray called it the "fullest and most developed work from FKA Twigs to date", writing that Barnett "comprehensively opens herself up to consider the traumas of her past. It is an unsparing, anguished release in which we see an artist laid bare and tapping into a more natural and resonant version of her sound and self."[21] Reviewing the album for NME, El Hunt stated "Tahliah Barnett's been to tabloid hell and back and experienced gruelling ill-health, all of which is explored on her huge, panoramic second album."[15] The Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick wrote, "Magdalene is a magnificently twisted sci-fi torch album, an enthralling account of love, loss, heartbreak and recovery. It is erotic and neurotic, confounding and revelatory, summoning the spirits of such iconoclastic talents as David Bowie, Kate Bush and Björk while affirming its own unique personality."[12] Exclaim! critic Ryan B. Patrick said, "The intent, execution and expression is pure. But the ominous feel of the entire project overwhelms, in parts, with a forlorn sense of distance and dread – which appears to be the point – yet its subsuming sense of femininity, sexuality, free will and determinism paradoxically draws us in."[22]

Josh Gray from Clash enjoyed the album, saying, "Almost every track on Magdalene is built upwards from a simple piano line, hammering home the impression of someone delicately yet decisively knitting themselves back together after coming undone."[23] Emily Mackay of The Observer saying "Magdalene is a much starker, more emotionally direct album than 2014's LP1, most noticeably in twigs's voice, which moves with sleek power from delicate operatic acrobatics to muscular intimacy. It's also bracingly frank."[16] Pitchfork awarded Magdalene the distinction of "Best New Music", with Julianne Escobedo Shepherd described it as "her best album so far", saying that it "is as introspective as anything she's written, but more obviously centers her voice as a conduit for plain emotion".[17] In a mixed review, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis stated: "Sometimes the results are stunning ... Sometimes, however, the songs are weirdly stifling."[13]

Accolades[edit]

Publication List Rank Ref.
AllMusic AllMusic Best of 2019 N/A
The A.V. Club The 20 Best Albums of 2019
1
Billboard 50 Best Albums of 2019
19
Clash Clash Albums of the Year 2019
1
Complex Best Albums of 2019
39
Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums of 2019
29
Flood Magazine The Best Albums of 2019
3
The Guardian The 50 Best Albums of 2019
7
The Independent The 50 Best Albums of 2019
31
The Line of Best Fit The Best Albums of 2019
24
NME The 50 Best Albums of 2019
6
Noisey The 100 Best Albums of 2019
26
Now The 10 Best Albums of 2019
1
Paste The 50 Best Albums of 2019
5
Pitchfork The 50 Best Albums of 2019
2
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2019
36
Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2019
37
Slant Magazine The 25 Best Albums of 2019
2
Spectrum Culture Top 20 Albums of 2019
4
Spin 10 Best Albums of 2019
5
Sputnikmusic Top 50 Albums of 2019
18
Stereogum Best Albums of 2019
15
Time The 10 Best Albums of 2019
1
Uproxx The Best Albums of 2019
36

Track listing[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes[48] and FKA Twigs' Instagram.[49]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Thousand Eyes"Jaar5:00
2."Home with You"
  • Twigs
  • Ethan P. Flynn
3:44
3."Sad Day"
4:15
4."Holy Terrain" (featuring Future)
4:03
5."Mary Magdalene"
  • Twigs
  • Blanco
  • Jaar
  • Høiberg
  • Twigs
  • Blanco
  • Jaar
  • Koreless[a]
  • Cashmere Cat[a]
  • Goldstein[a]
5:21
6."Fallen Alien"
  • Twigs
  • Flynn
  • Cy An
  • Jaar
  • Arthur Timothy Jones
  • Milton Ray Biggham
  • Twigs
  • Jaar
3:58
7."Mirrored Heart"
  • Twigs
  • Flynn
  • Cy An
  • Roberts
  • Twigs
  • Koreless
4:32
8."Daybed"Lopatin4:31
9."Cellophane"
  • Twigs
  • Kleinman
  • Uzowuru
3:24
Total length:38:48

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[b] signifies a vocal producer
  • All track titles are stylised in all lowercase.

Samples

  • "Holy Terrain" contains a sample from "Moma Hubava", composed by Petar Lyondev, performed by Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, conducted by Prof. Dora Hristova and recorded by KEXP.
  • "Fallen Alien" contains a sample from "Storm Clouds Rising" by the Florida Mass Choir.

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes[48] and FKA Twigs' Instagram.[49]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[51] 22
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[52] 56
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[53] 23
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[54] 76
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[55] 57
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[56] 55
French Albums (SNEP)[57] 113
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[58] 78
Irish Albums (IRMA)[59] 39
Italian Albums (FIMI)[60] 76
Lithuanian Albums (AGATA)[61] 19
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[62] 27
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[63] 8
Scottish Albums (OCC)[64] 28
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[65] 60
UK Albums (OCC)[66] 21
US Billboard 200[67] 54
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[68] 3
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[69] 1

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various 8 November 2019 Young Turks [70]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Except "Holy Terrain", recorded at Henson and Conway in Los Angeles

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Jenkins, Craig. "FKA Twigs Makes Great Art Out of Great Pain on Magdalene". Vulture. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b Cowen, Trace William (9 September 2019). "FKA twigs Shares Release Date and Cover Art for New Album 'MAGDALENE'". Complex. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  4. ^ Monroe, Jazz (9 September 2019). "FKA twigs Details New Album MAGDALENE, Out Next Month". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  5. ^ Schatz, Lake (24 April 2019). "FKA twigs returns with new single "Cellophane": Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  6. ^ Bruce-Jones, Henry (7 October 2019). "FKA twigs shares video for new track, 'home with you'". Fact. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  7. ^ Blistein, Jon (4 November 2019). "FKA Twigs Unveils New 'Magdalene' Cut 'Sad Day'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  8. ^ Myers, Owen (22 October 2019). "The Sacred and Profane Genius of FKA twigs". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
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  11. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Magdalene – FKA twigs". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  12. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (7 November 2019). "FKA Twigs, Magdalene, review: a magnificently twisted album that summons the spirits of Bowie and Björk". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  13. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (7 November 2019). "FKA twigs: Magdalene review – stifled perfection from pop's poledancing swordfighter". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b Pollard, Alexandra (7 November 2019). "FKA twigs review, MAGDALENE: The sound of a woman teetering on the brink of collapse". The Independent. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
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