Well, I still haven’t picked an album of the year yet (and this time I can only pick one winner) but my song of the year came pouring into my headphones one night on the bus from Invercargill to Dunedin as it was pulling out of Mataura.
NPR’s Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen, by way of their All Songs Considered podcast, introduced me to a London-based half Jamaican dancer/singer/bartender who goes by the name of FKA Twigs. Someone who grew up in the English hinterlands of Gloucestershire, then moved to the British Capital to further pursue a musical career. She originally just went by ‘Twigs’ but had to add the acronym after another artist of the same name asked her to change it. Why ‘FKA’? Because that’s the sounds her bones make when she cracks them. That should give you a bit of an idea of her personality.
Anyway, the song. It comes from her second EP, the unassumingly-titled EP2 on Young Turks and was produced in conjunction with Arca (yes, the guy from the new Kanye album Arca). I’m getting ahead of myself so before I start explaining why I’m so into it you should hear it. I say “hear it” because the video may freak you out a bit. Not that it’s Japanese horror film-scary, it’s just that a woman with bug-eyes could prove unsettling to some, so you might want to just set it going and scroll down.
Disclaimer done, here is my Song of the Year for 2013; FKA Twigs’ Water Me
The layers and layers of vocals are what make this for me. I am, as some may already know, a sucker for harmonies and reverb. This makes Water Me almost perfect for my ears to start with and then there’s the low-end. Crisp, but firm. Powerful in it’s sparseness, it holds the piece together like a tango from the future. The whole track brings to mind images of snow-capped mountains being whipped up by wind and torrents of spillway water being let out of dams (at least it does to me). It’s a sensational, spare delight.
The rest of 2013 was not without great music though. Feel free to have a listen to a year in music via my Spotify playlist below.
Oh, also a special mention goes to this track, which wasn’t on Spotify but was still special in 2013