How in the world did I let myself forget how rich, how indulgent, how goddamn decadent FKA twigs is? Because that’s the word that best applies to the work of Tahliah Barnett’s alter-ego: FKA twigs’ music is decadent. It’s heavy, it’s overwhelming, it’s strong, it’s something you have to savor slowly – and minute by minute, second by second, it’s worth the repeated listens. While it’s one of Barnett’s most accessible releases to date, “Good to Love” is no exception.
“Good to Love” is FKA twigs as dark and moody and vocally complex as her neo-R&B contemporaries SZA and Kelela, as emotionally charged as the multi-talented Purity Ring and Grimes at their best. It’s a powerful, synth-driven track with her signature ambient minimalism, one that would make fellow Brits and electronica wünderkinds Jamie xx and James Blake weak at the knees. Compared to Barnett’s past discography – the confident, lust-laced “Two Weeks”, the brash, hypnotic commands of “In Time”, or even the breathy, desperate question that is “Papi Pacify” – “Good to Love” showcases a side of FKA twigs that’s more vulnerable than anything we’ve seen from her before. She implores the listener, her voice warping and wobbling and layering atop itself as the track naturally crescendos over looped thunder and disjointed organ: please don’t hurt her like the others, even though she knows you will. Please don’t waste her time, even though she knows you will. After all, she insists, that’s inevitably how it goes.
The influence of producers Cy An and Rick Nowells (known for his frequent collaborations with Lana Del Rey) is immediately present as a stripped down version of FKA twigs-turned-balladier earnestly falsettos about loves past, loves lost and loves that have pushed her to her limits. All the while, “love” takes on a range of meanings beyond romance: love is religion, love is pain, love is addiction. Love is multifaceted and temporary, easy to lose and near impossible to get back. Chorus after haunting chorus, “Good to Love” gets at the tragic paradox of heartbreak with Barnett’s gorgeous, delicate vocals: it stings, but damn, does it feel so good to love.
Listen here. Image from here.