Cellophane

Album: Magdalene (2019)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Cellophane" is a vulnerable piano ballad in which FKA Twigs sings of a relationship in the public eye.

    They want to see us, want to see us alone
    They want to see us, want to see us apart


    FKA Twigs started dating Twilight actor Robert Pattinson in September 2014. A number of his fans made it clear on social media they wanted the British star to split from Twigs. She may be referencing that in this song.
  • Cellophane is a packaging material made from cellulose, which is a plant fiber. Here, it is used as a metaphor for the state of the relationship.

    And I don't want to have to share our love
    I try but I get overwhelmed
    All wrapped in cellophane, the feelings that we had


    Cellophane is commonly used to wrap and protect food. However it is transparent and Twigs feels she is unable to guard their relationship against the all-seeing media.
  • Twigs also questions her partner's commitment towards her.

    And didn't I do it for you?
    Why don't I do it for you?


    Though Twigs harbors deep feelings for her lover, she doesn't feel he is reciprocating her love for him.
  • Directed by frequent Björk collaborator Andrew Thomas Huang, the "Cellophane" video features Twigs on stage dancing around a pole before plummeting through the sky. The singer spent nine months taking pole dancing lessons in preparation for the clip. In a tweet immediately following the video's release, Twigs said:

    "When I wrote Cellophane over a year ago a visual narrative came to me immediately, I knew I had to learn how to pole-dance to bring it to life."
  • Twigs later released a short film titled Practice showing her in training for the music video.

    "Sometimes when I write something that's really vulnerable like 'Didn't I do it for you? Why don't I do it for you?', in the center of myself, I know that that's a very human feeling," Twigs explained during the film. "So when I thought of the video concept to be asking somebody 'Didn't I do it for you?' while doing these amazing tricks on the pole and getting your life – to me, there's something almost humorous about that. I'm sure other people won't see it that way but to me it's sick and it's funny and it feels powerful."
  • The song's needy lyrics play against Twigs' sexy video. She explained to The Guardian: "I think that, in society, as a woman, you can be this beautiful creature and you want to be that for yourself, but there's also a part of you that is doing it for the approval of the opposite sex. And that can lead you to feeling, 'Am I good enough? Have I done enough?'"
  • The raw singing you hear on the track is from the demo take. Twigs had just started playing the piano chords when a Lyft arrived outside the studio to pick her up. She asked the driver to give her 20-25 minutes while she laid the track down. Despite being pushed for time, Twigs was able to record an emotional vocal.

    Twigs recalled to Apple Music: "I remember feeling like I wanted to cry, but I just didn't feel like it was that suitable to cry at a studio session."
  • "Cellophane" was named the best song of 2019 by Pitchfork, with Puja Patel writing it "masterfully makes the ugly, complicated mess of interrogating lost love feel like an act of pride. Because when you've aimed a spotlight at yourself, perhaps all that matters is knowing you're worthy of its glow."

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