FKA twigs' latest project, M3LL155X, a surprise EP release pronounced "Melissa," is accompanied by a 16-minute suite of videos for the first four of the record's five songs. It's a statement more than a gimmick, as Twigs is as much a dancer and performance artist as she is a singer, songwriter and producer.
Created with assistance from Beyoncé collaborator Boots, the music is spacious, paranoid and sultry; the lyrics are suggestive and knotted. The songs lack centers, or even hooks, and aren't easily assimilated, but unmistakable themes emerge: Through a feverish haze of sounds and sights, M3LL155X asks big questions about femininity, sex and power -- a strong commentary on agency by an artist whom tabloids often flatten to being Twilight star Robert Pattinson's fiancee. "Am I dancing sexy yet?" she asks on "Glass and Patron," but she's no simple vixen or coquette; she's seeking validation only to lay traps. She whispers about a "break away from being told who I am" and asks "will you f-- me while I stare at the sun?" In the song, there are ashes, phoenixes and lust; in the video, there are gender-blurring dancers on a glossy runway in dark, barren woods. On "Figure 8," she presents herself as both numinous and fearsome: "I am an angel/Hush now/My back wings will give you the hardest slap that you've ever seen."