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Review: 'Caprisongs,' the latest from FKA twigs

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Changing gears now - we've got some new music to help you start the week just right. Pop singer FKA twigs has just released her latest album. It's a mixtape called "Caprisongs."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RIDE THE DRAGON")

FKA TWIGS: Hey. I made you a mixtape.

MARTIN: It's her first album since 2019 and since her lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf, accusing him of sexual and emotional abuse, which he denies. The album is already getting rave reviews, so we called NPR Music's LaTesha Harris to walk us through a few standout tracks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PAPI BONES")

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) Let's start it again. Boom, boom, take us when you can't find the one. But everybody wants to send out for my love. Sticky, sweet, I'm going to be like a killer, a killer, a killer.

LATESHA HARRIS, BYLINE: So what stood out to me about "Papi Bones" - and this is partially my favorite track on the mixtape - is just how completely evolved her sound is. There's elements of Afrobeat and dancehall here, and that comes from producer El Guincho. The blaring alarms, the steel drums - this is completely different from what we've come to expect from twigs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PAPI BONES")

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) Oh, you're so damn fine. We bump and grind and twirl. The champagne bubble up. My champagne bubble girl. Oh, you're so damn fine. We bump and grind and twirl. The champagne bubble up. My champagne bubble girl.

HARRIS: The different layers of instrumentation and the different sounds that she brings into the project are so much more maximalist than we've expected from her. And I feel like that sonic experimentation kind of reflects, you know, how she's been able to discover new things about herself, new things about her art.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TEARS IN THE CLUB")

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) Tears in the club 'cause your love's got me f***** up. Tears in the club.

HARRIS: So on "Tears In The Club," which features The Weeknd, there's a really interesting dynamic between twigs as a narrator and The Weeknd as an observer.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TEARS IN THE CLUB")

THE WEEKND: (Singing) There's no, no escaping me. Let it out like therapy. There's no, no escaping me. Around your girls, in the club, on the road, on the radio.

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) Tears in the club 'cause your love's got me f***** up. Tears in the club. I'm going to drown in the beat now. Tears in the club 'cause your love's got me f***** up. Tears in the club.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THANK YOU SONG")

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) I wanted to die. I'm just being honest. No longer afraid to say it out loud.

HARRIS: The importance of "Thank You Song" on this mixtape is obviously to close out the mixtape and kind of sum up all the gratitude that twigs is feeling. It's very interesting to end on this very slow-tempo ballad, but I think it works because it's encapsulating everything that the mixtape is about. This mixtape is a journey about her healing and her discovery of herself again.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THANK YOU SONG")

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) Love in motion. My heart's open. Thank you. Thank you. I'm OK. 'Cause you care, I made it through today.

HARRIS: I think "Caprisongs" is her most honest and authentic project she's released. And I think that's when you really see, like, the heart of her as a musician but as a person as well. It really feels like she's been able to blossom in her vulnerability and really share that with her listeners.

MARTIN: That was NPR Music's LaTesha Harris talking about FKA twigs' new mixtape "Caprisongs," which is out now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CARELESS")

FKA TWIGS: (Singing) You can be careless. You can be careless with me. You can be careless. You can be careless. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

LaTesha Harris
LaTesha Harris is NPR Music's editorial assistant. A relentless jack-of-all-trades, she takes turns writing, editing and producing music coverage. Invested in the culture behind pop, hip-hop and R&B, her work highlights the intersection between identity and history. Once in a blue moon, Harris moonlights as a talking head with no filter.