Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014: Track of the Year

Playing my Songs of 2014 mix in the family living room this Christmas holiday, I've come to realise: gosh, rather a lot of these songs are about sex. But arguably none more than my single favourite of the year.

Before we get into it... I'm listening to this track on Spotify right now, and it's marked EXPLICIT. We might as well go right ahead and say the same thing about the blog you're about to read. So stop now if we're related or something, okay?


FKA Twigs – Two Weeks

Enthusing about Two Weeks to friends this year, I've tended to call it the best pop song ever written about oral sex – a title for which, of course, there's no shortage of competition. Honestly, in terms of what the song means to me, I could stop this blog right there – but why use forty words when you could use four hundred, eh?

Besides, there are a lot of other things going on in Two Weeks which I feel like I should address. The song is a) a triumphant taunt after a break-up, b) a masterful kiss-off to a guy who's with someone else anyway, c) an irresistible seduction because fuck that someone else, anyway.

I genuinely do believe in all those readings, but frankly I don't have much use for any of them. Anyway, whatever your take on the song, there's an undeniable common thread: two people, one metric tonne of sexual tension.

Because Two Weeks is a genuinely tense song. It begins with indistinct looped vocals that sound like a summoning chant played backwards. On top of that come these incursions of bass, and finally Twigs singing "I know it hurts" with a sense of forced restraint.

It's electrifyingly tense, and one that the song spends its running time breaking and then building back up. The end of the first verse is delivered in a series of staccato gasps, building to "that chaste mouth open like [extended vowel sound describing inexpressible pleasure]". Suddenly, the music all floods in at once, the song blossoming into chorus.

(There may be some subtext here. Speaking of, I love the way the song's is literally buried under the main vocals, an obscured "I can treat you better than her" in the first verse switching to "I can fuck you better than her" by the second.)

But even then, there's never any sense of a true climax. Two Weeks is Tantric pop, if I can be that gross – the feeling of fingers tracing along skin, of toes bunching together, of involuntary shudders. Over the course of four minutes, precisely who we're talking about here shifts. The song's front end promises pleasure, the second half promises she'll take it from you. Compare and contrast the "I'd quench that thirst" at 00:25 and "I'll quench your thirst" at 03:17.

I guess, basically, the thing I love about Two Weeks is that Twigs keeps telling you that she'll put you first, but it's so incredibly clear she actually doesn't mean it. That applies equally to interpretations a, b, and c but, more importantly, to the other thing.
"Get your mouth open,
You know you’re mine.
"

Oh, and before we go, a quick mention of the video, which is simultaneously: an incredibly confident introduction to an artist emerging fully-formed like Venus; a reaction to Kanye West's Power video; a spectacular trompe-l'œil, 2014's foremost incursion of The Wicked + The Divine's pop-mythos into reality (excepting possibly the Kate Bush gigs); and a perfect encapsulation, in its teasingly slow zoom out, of what makes the song great.

1 comment:

Tim said...

BAN THIS SICK FILTH!

Jokes aside, although I haven't managed to connect with the album as a whole, this is a great song, a worthy track of the year, and some great analysis. Nice work

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Videogames, film, music, comics: feed them into the Alex-Spencer machine and out come neat little articles. Like the ones you're looking at here.