FKA Twigs, preceding her upcoming album MAGDALENE, gave the music industry a peek of the production with her moody single “holy terrain.” She returns to the molasses tone of her music, building simultaneously intimate and vast landscapes with her voice and production. In theme with the biblical figure of her new album’s namesake, the vulnerability of her lyrics contrast with the rigid structuring of the song’s instrumental track. The hip-hop backings of the song create a strong foundation from which Twigs and Future lyrically call for vulnerability and change in a loveless land.
The song starts with a verse from Future, heading with rigidity of the matters of money and its consequences of love and devotion. This could be especially noted in the line “Send my girl to church with some drug money,” as though the pure, religious aspect of his love is countered with the harshness of the world. To follow, Twigs serenades her lover with velvet vulnerability. She lines the days in which she is wooed by her lover, but foreshadows the drowning and blinding effect of falling in love: “Next to me, kiss my cheek, just any day, yes/Day three, take me to a deep river/Steal a kiss when I’m lost in the mist.”
FKA Twigs continues as the instrumentals begin to envelop itself beyond the beat, with descending chords to indicate the loss of self-control in the face of love. She begins to open herself up: “Will you still be there for me, once I’m yours to obtain?/Once my fruits are for taking and you flow through my veins?/Do you still think I’m beautiful, when my tears fall like rain?/My love is so bountiful for a man who is true to me.” The catastrophe of love in itself is the impact of both her lyrics and instrumentation. Love seems more like an opening for pain rather than a support to the psyche, causing Twigs anxiety in terms of the concept of isolation in romanticism and caution in trust.
The chorus, joining Twigs and Future, is a serenade of longing for the strength to love each other in times of turmoil. Descending notes complement Future’s “I cry, I cry, I cry/I try, I try I try,” letting his listener sink in the vastness of emotions that he and Twigs yearn for the security of love, despite the terrors of the very concept in action. Crying out for her lover to step to her side, Twigs creates magnitude in the cold atmosphere that her love attempts to survive in.
The mercilessness of love is the main concept of this single, not only found in its lyrics, but also the instrumentals. The strong trap influence is countered with the intimate keyboard progression to build a setting of the dichotomy of the strengths and weaknesses of the state of being in love. The lyrics, even read without the track, seem like love letters written in secret, reminiscent to Pablo Neruda’s archives of amorous lyricism. The song in itself is a dive into the harshness of intimacy, as if we were drowning in the quicksand of memory and its sour and saccharine drug on the brain.
Review By: Liz Leung