Magdalene is the second studio album by English singer-songwriter FKA Twigs. It was released on November 8, 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 was supported by the Magdalene Tour.
On September 9, 2019, FKA Twigs announced that her second studio album Magdalene would be released on October 25, 2019; the album preorder and track listing were made available the same day. The album cover was designed by English artist Matthew Stone.
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"
Magdalene has been described as "[defying] both genre and classification", and features elements of art pop, pop, electronic, avant-garde, R&B, trap, hip hop, trip hop, alt-pop, punk rock, industrial, opera, chamber pop, and Bulgarian folk.
The lead single "Cellophane" was released on April 24, 2019. The second single "holy terrain" featuring American rapper Future was released on September 9, 2019. "home with you" was released on October 7, 2019 after the album's release date was pushed from October 25, 2019 to November 8, 2019. "sad day" was released on November 4, 2019.
Main article: Magadalene Tour
For the Magdalene album tour, FKA Twigs learned pole dancing and wushu.
Magdalene was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 88, based on 28 reviews. Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it 8.5 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.
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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." Pitchfork awarded Magdalene the distinction of "Best New Music", with Julianne Escobedo Shepherd describing 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". In a mixed review, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis stated: "Sometimes the results are stunning ... Sometimes, however, the songs are weirdly stifling."
|1.||"thousand eyes"||Nicolas Jaar & FKA twigs||FKA twigs, Noah Goldstein & Nicolas Jaar||5:01|
|2.||"home with you"||Ethan P. Flynn & FKA twigs||FKA twigs||3:45|
|3.||"sad day"||Koreless, Cashmere Cat, Nicolas Jaar, Skrillex, benny blanco, Noah Goldstein & FKA twigs||Skrillex, Nicolas Jaar, benny blanco & FKA twigs||4:16|
|4.||"holy terrain" (featuring Future)||Poo Bear, Nicolas Jaar, Koreless, FKA twigs, Jack Antonoff, Sounwave, Future, Petar Lyondev & Skrillex||FKA twigs, Jack Antonoff & Skrillex||4:03|
|5.||"mary magdalene"||Cashmere Cat, Nicolas Jaar, benny blanco & FKA twigs||Noah Goldstein, Cashmere Cat, benny blanco, FKA twigs & Nicolas Jaar||5:21|
|6.||"fallen alien"||Cy An, Arthur Timothy Jones, Milton Biggham, Ethan P. Flynn, Nicolas Jaar & FKA twigs||Nicolas Jaar & FKA twigs||3:59|
|7.||"mirrored heart"||Koreless, Cy An, Ethan P. Flynn & FKA twigs||Koreless & FKA twigs||4:33|
|8.||"daybed"||Oneohtrix Point Never & FKA twigs||Oneohtrix Point Never||4:31|
|9.||"cellophane"||FKA twigs, Jeff Kleinman & Michael Uzowuru||FKA twigs, Jeff Kleinman & Michael Uzowuru||3:24|
|10.||"cellophane" (live at the Wallace Collection)||FKA twigs, Jeff Kleinman & Michael Uzowuru||FKA twigs, Jeff Kleinman & Michael Uzowuru||3:56|
Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.
- FKA Twigs – vocals, Tempest (1, 3), drums (5, 7, 8), voice synth (5), additional programming (8)
- Ethan P. Flynn – piano (2, 6), clarinet (2, 6), keyboards (2, 7)
- Cy An – keyboards (2), programming (2, 6), drums (2, 6), guitar (6, 7), percussion loop (6)
- Noah Goldstein – programming (2), drums (2, 3, 5)
- Nicolas Jaar – programming (2, 6, 9), synths (3), drums (3, 5–7), piano (5), additional percussion (9)
- Koreless – synths (3, 7), synth strings (3), keyboards (4), programming (4), drums (5)
- Benny Blanco – synths (3), drums (3, 5)
- Hudson Mohawke – drums (3)
- Skrillex – drums (3, 4), programming (4)
- Future – vocals (4)
- Jack Antonoff – keyboards (4), drums (4), programming (4)
- Sounwave – drums (4), programming (4)
- Arca – vocal processing (4), synth programming (4)
- Andrés Osorio – guitar (5)
- Rick Nowels – synths (7)
- Motion Graphics – additional programming (8), woodwind programming (8), samples (8)
- Alex Epton – drums (8)
- Jeff Kleinman – piano (9), synths (9)
- Michael Uzowuru – drums (9), vocal percussion (9)
- Rob Moose – strings (9)
- Michael Peterson – engineering
- Noah Goldstein – engineering (2, 3, 5, 9)
- Lee Avant – engineering
- Dean Reid – engineering
- Rick Nowels – engineering
- Alex Epton – engineering
- John Foyle – engineering, vocal recording (8)
- Laura Sisk – engineering (4)
- Jon Sher – assistant engineering (4)
- Tate McDowell – assistant engineering (4)
- Chris Wang – additional engineering (8)
- Manny Marroquin – mixing (1–3, 5–9)
- Nicolas Jaar – mixing (1)
- Skrillex – mixing (4)
- Chris Galland – mix engineering (1–3, 5–9)
- Robin Florent – mix assistance (1–3, 5–9)
- Scott Desmarais – mix assistance (1–3, 5–9)
- Joe LaPorta – mastering
- Matthew Stone – artwork
- Matthew Josephs – creative direction
- Brodie Kaman – design