For the longest time, I didn’t understand the hype around FKA twigs. And when I say “the longest time”, I mean for 4 damn years. It took me a series trailer to finally grasp the beauty of her art. Which is truly a shame ’cause I watched her music videos afterwards and it had been there all along. You know how sometimes visuals elevate the music, emphasizing the lyrics, the sensuality, the tension? I have to thank 2016 and the Two Weeks-soundtracked teaser of The Girlfriend Experience for highlighting how much I had missed out all these years by ignoring the British artist. A few weeks later, she unveiled Good to Love and then disappeared, making me long for her return (in the meantime, she did blow our minds in the Apple HomePod’s commercial whose behind-the-scenes are just as worth the watch!).
“Throughout my life, I’ve practiced my way to being the best I could be. It didn’t work this time. I had to tear down every process I’d ever relied on. Go deeper. Rebuild. Start again“, she confided on Twitter, announcing her comeback earlier this week. And what a comeback it was. Written and produced with Jeff Kleinman and Michael Uzowuru (who both worked on Jorja Smith and Frank Ocean‘s latest projects), Cellophane is a magnetic masterpiece with a stripped down instrumentation allowing FKA twigs’ breathy voice and emotions to burst and break as she pleases on this ethereal track where simple words articulate the intricate feelings that come with love. With her atypical look and sound, I often thought of her as a younger Björk – both seem to master the art of dressing profound humanity in the most alien, fascinating silhouettes. It’s therefore not very surprising to see that the new visuals have been directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, a frequent collaborator of the Icelandic priestess. “When I wrote Cellophane over a year ago a visual narrative came to me immediately, I knew I had to learn how to pole-dance to bring it to life, and so that’s what I did”, FKA twigs explained on Instagram.
The result is a powerful expression of both strength and vulnerability. With every viewing, I’m discovering new details and coming up with new interpretations. At the moment, for me, it’s about reaching for the stars to sometimes only meet darkness and pain at the top. It’s about how yearning to please someone can disconnect you from your true self. It’s about letting go. The climb, the fall… the rebirth.