Every once in a long while, we get a late-night TV performance that completely upends, destroys, and remakes our entire idea of what a late-night TV performance can even be. Last night, FKA twigs gave us one of those. Do yourself a favor: Stop reading this introduction and just click play on the video below.
Next week, twigs will release her new album Magdalene — her second LP, and her first since she gave up LP1 more than five years ago. It’s worth the wait. Back in April, before she announced the impending album, twigs released her stunning single “Cellophane,” which appears as the final song on Magdalene. Last night, she sang that song on The Tonight Show, and she made one hell of a production out of it.
Before she was a singer, twigs was a dancer, and she’s always found fascinating ways to use her gift for bodily expression in performance. On last night’s Tonight Show, she started out sitting atop a piano, wearing a Victorian dress that was made at least partly out of bandannas. Accompanied only by that piano and a cello, she sang a vulnerable, heart-stopping version of “Cellophane.”
As the song progressed, twigs dropped the dress and walked across a long surface to a stripper pole, twirling slowly and liquidly around it — doing things that would result in concussion or paralysis for most of us — and making this incredibly athletic display into something mournful and beautiful. She also danced on a pole in the “Cellophane” video, but it’s a whole other thing seeing her do it onstage. Watch it below.
Magdalene is out 11/8 on Young Turks.