Today I am finally going to talk about BANKS! Sometimes it can be harder to talk about your favorite artists than it is for newer artists, at least it has been for me! You see, I’ve tried in the past to review her previous album The Altar back in 2017 but I just could not get myself to do it and I’ve been kicking myself ever since! So, for this post I am basically conquering my fear and discussing what I like or maybe dislike about this album.
I actually didn’t know she was going to put out an album until a whole bunch of songs on YouTube and I thought, “well, this is strange!” So, I went on her Facebook page and quickly figured it out. This record has thirteen tracks with only one that credits another artist and/or band, but we’ll get to that in a minute,. I have only heard probably three or four songs but the rest I have saved for you guys, because you know how much I like to express my thoughts during that first listening. I hope you enjoy the rest of this post. Let’s get to it!
The first song we have is “Till Now” and I think everyone will agree with me on forgetting that the actual word “till” is spelled with 2 “L’s” the fact that Google and everybody else in the world has no problem with leaving it with one is fine. However, it is nice to be reminded of that every once in a while. Anyways, when the song first started it actually made me think of another song of hers “Better” because it was pretty empty with only her vocalizations in the background but the one difference with this is that it sounds more upbeat. Towards the ending it sound really static-y and I was really concerned that it was my speaker but her vocals never changed so I let it go. I really liked it, just wish it wasn’t so short though!
Next we have the first single, “Gimme” and I loved this from the moment it was released! I really approve of her seductive side coming out in this song. I have a really tough time not dancing to this and that’s what made me fall in love with it first, because it just has this great meaty beat to move to. It was an awesome little taste of what was to come next. The third track is “Contaminated” and we have continued on this mysterious train with the beat itself. Even though it does have darker notes, it also has these sweet vibes going through it as well. I can’t quite explain it, maybe it’s the undertone of the song that I’m feeling but I liked it!
We move on to “Stroke” and the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the title was the word “heatstroke” I don’t know about my brain sometimes. The song is on a totally different level that what we’ve heard from her; she’s given us everything I thought until I heard this one. The bass on it is amazing! If you know me well enough, you know I have a slight obsession with bass. I may not jam as loud as I use to, but I still love to feel the bass on a speaker. By the way, you read that right. I said feel instead of hear. One thing that I really like about it is that once you get to the bridge, the sound changes and you have this almost jazz-y worthy type of beat going on for a bit and what really gets me is that it all works really nicely!
“Godless” is next and I love that her vocals are soft, really sensual this time around. It is still sexy in every sense of the word but it’s not as overwhelming as the last track–and I mean that in the best way possible! I just like how everything about the song is milder. It is a nice change, but it isn’t anything like the next song: “Sawzall” as this has a true acoustic feel. You can hear everything individually, and it’s wonderful. I love her dark-alternative music but it is amazing to hear her as naturally as possible. These two songs really surprised on how different they could be, compared the rest of her music.
We move on to “Look What You’re Doing To Me” and this is, dare I say, very cheery and playful! This is the song that features another artist, it is Francis & The Lights. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed the subtle way they came into the track. So far, this is the only one that sound like a regular R&B song, although it still has the essence of what we all love about BANKS, but thanks to adding another voice, it has an edge compared to the others. Unfortunately, it isn’t one of my favorites but it’s still pretty good though!
Next we have “Hawaiian Mazes” and I really loved the quiet introduction. It was just a sweet kiss. The tempo stays very mellow throughout the whole thing. The “uh, uh, uhs” are also nice too, the whole thing brings out a sensual vibe. Perfect for the summertime! After that, we travel to “Alaska” basically. I thought it was interesting that we had these back-to-back. As the last one was very chill, this is fun and mild beat wise. It has a nice groove to dance to, and has a unique flare to it. The recent song that I allowed myself to hear was “Propaganda” and I thought it was great! I really think it has more of a House feeling going on, it does match the other two with the lightness of the beat, but thankfully all of them have something to make them different from each other.
“The Fall” is the one of the three tracks left on the album. This one threw me for a loop. While you listen to the verses, the beat is very gentle, almost relaxing in a way. After the last few songs, it shouldn’t really surprise you that this could happen, but once you get the chorus, it explodes. Suddenly, you feel this fierce tone and if I’m not mistaken, she’s rapping towards the end? Yummy! We have “If We Were Made Out Of Water” and I love the sounds of birds in the beginning. When you first hear them, you kind of think that it’s going to be a happy song but it’s not. It’s rather sad, especially when you read the lyrics along, you feel like you could cry. despite this, I think it’s one of my favorites! We are at “What About Love” which is the final song. I really enjoyed the bluesy, but gospel sound going on. It does a bittersweet tone, but I like how simple it was; kind of the perfect way to end the story.
I will be honest when I say, I have yet to actually listen to any of BANKS’ albums all the way through, and this was the main reason why I wanted to review her last record because I knew I wouldn’t without having a reason to do so. However, because of this too, I was very hesitant to review it at all. I am normally very picky with her music so going into this was a bit scary for me, but everything is fine. I actually loved it!
I can’t say her music has changed, I don’t feel like I can say that officially, but it hit my needs as to start on a high note and end kind of softly. For an album like this, a summer record basically, it wasn’t overwhelming with tropical sounds and full of sex, although it does have a bit of it on here, but it’s pleasant. You finally get to hear her voice and raw emotions as the album continues on. The lyrics are different, certain words that maybe you wouldn’t expect to be in a song. It was a unique experience, that’s all I can say!
Have you listened to BANKS’ new album III yet? What did you love it or not liked it as much? What were your favorites? Put your answers below in the comments!