On Wednesday, FKA twigs released the single “Cellophane,” the first ounce of music she’s released in over three years — and it feels like a collective weight has been lifted off our worried shoulders. To say that this moment is a long time coming would be an understatement.
If you remember, close to this time last year, the artist born Tahliah Barnett revealed on Instagram that she had fibroid tumors removed in late 2017; the accompanying video was of her practicing pole dancing moves. Beyond a show a recovery, her many posts from then until now, detailing her pole dancing choreography, hinted that something bigger was at play. Now we know what that thing is.
“Cellophane,” whose reminiscent lyrics portray feelings of intimacy and longing, is also a bit more simplistic compositionally than some of her most iconic work. The ballad is stripped back — well, by FKA twigs’ standards, anyway — as the backdrop is fueled mostly by only low-octave piano keys, with only a few signature glitches and heavy bass kicks peppered in after the midway point. This artistic minimalism, however, shines a light on Barnett’s mesmerizing vocals, which crescendo from subtle to empowered about halfway through, just as the instrumentation begins to add its depth.
And of course, the real jaw-dropper is the accompanying visual. Barnett revealed via Twitter that she learned the art of pole dancing over the course of a year to help bring the narrative to life. A year’s worth of work has surely paid off; everything, from the lighting to Barnett’s gracefulness and movements — even as the video diverges into surreal territory — can only be described as moving art.