“Aggressive statement”. “Pregnant with pain, birthing creativity”. “Personal female energy”. From the press notes alone, one thing is clear: mother Melissa is, quite rightly, pissed off.
Whether it’s because of the gossip rags or the internet trolls, FKA twigs is ready to fight back. It’s a bold statement on the sleeve alone: a mouth superimposed over the hand covering it leaves very little room for interpretation. As a result, M3LL155X (which admittedly looks like a number plate has gained sentience) is a pounding, entrancing piece of work for a woman who has never been shy of wielding some aural power. The opening beat on Figure 8 drills right through you and – in the context of her last 12 months – the ached plea of “let me live” sounds even more stirring between the sonic suffocation it undergoes (producers Boots, tic, and Cy An are clearly quite the holy trinity on this one).
Her anger gets its most direct outing to date on In Time, where twigs for the first time leaves behind the breathy R&B for a more direct approach in production, message, and delivery – “you’ve got a goddamn nerve” spills out of her with a London twang, the mask slipping to make a very pointed complaint. Similarly, I’m Your Doll appears to tackle the notion of celebrity (“dress me up, love me rough”), once again backed by a bassline so vigorous and aggressive that it will probably trouble a seismologist.
What twigs keeps doing with sound and genre is consistently awe-inspiring, and M3LL155X highlights just how important a figure she is – not just as the dextrous performer on pleasure/pain standout Glass & Patron, but as a reminder for how much we all need to go full Roman Tortoise around anyone subjected to vile abuse online. The way Mothercreep uses its electronics to sound like a monkey – one of the terms thrown at her by trolls – is an absolute source of shame for us all, though it does underline one thing: fuck with FKA twigs and, as those quotes at the top explain, she’ll turn even the most maddening things into an absolute marvel.
M3LL155X by FKA twigs can be ordered here.