TWO WEEKS AFTER Kanye West released a gospel album with watered-down theology in October 2019, British singer-songwriter FKA Twigs dropped a marvelous piece of sparse electronica with a spiritual tenor. Twigs’ album is gospel in its theological significance. West’s record is not.
Titled Magdalene, the 32-year-old Twigs’ second album is a “revelation,” according to Pitchfork. Throughout the album, the dancer-turned-R&B-genre-bender finds strength in the story of Mary Magdalene. The record’s title track focuses on the Magdalene and the social implications of Jesus’ relationship with her.
Twigs frames the album as a feminist reconsideration of Mary’s story, pushing back on the fact that her narrative was ultimately told by male writers. Outside of Jesus’ family, she is the woman most mentioned in the gospels. She was a patron of Jesus’ ministry and among the first to have seen him resurrected. However, throughout much of history she has been conflated with the “sinful woman” in Luke 7 and, as a result, seen as sexually promiscuous. Twigs pushes against this patriarchal gaze and turns to the Magdalene for inspiration.