Have you heard of Banks? And no, I am not referring to the the financial institution or the shore of a river here.
Singer-songwriter, Jillian Rose Banks, uses the simplicity of her last name to create a fresh, lux image of herself. Banks has quickly gained popularity over the past year through her LP, London, as well as with the success of multiple singles. September 9th marked the release of her highly anticipated debut studio album, Goddess.
Much like her most recent album cover, there is a sense of dark romanticism that bleeds into her sound – creating heavy emotion with a delicate voice. Banks demonstrates her range using fluttering falsettos in her opening songs like “Alibi” and “Waiting Game.” As the album progresses she continues to show her vocal ability through lower ranged songs like “Beggin For Thread." Through this powerful quality of her lightweight voice she is able to emulate a “Goddess” status with great maturity.
“I’m the one who had to learn to build a heart made of armor.”
However, every goddess is not without her flaws. Banks struggles with song individuality which makes it difficult to differentiate each track. Throughout Goddess the tone of the music remains stagnant at one mellow level. With the exception of her acoustic track, “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From,” her songs mainly consist of heavy computerized beats, vocal manipulation, and self-harmonization. The only song that is able to stick out from all of the rest is “Drowning” – not because it is particularly unique from her songwriting formula, but because this song has the most memorable lyrics.
What Banks lacks in raw instrumentals musicality, she gains in her lyricism. There is an intentional ingenuity to her words that, although little more advanced than your average R&B songs, does not surpass the point of understanding. A great example of her lyrical style is shown in one of her hit singles, “Beggin For Thread":
“Stooped down and out, you got me beggin for thread / To sew this hole up that you ripped in my head”
Banks is one of 2014’s biggest up-and-coming artists, as her sound is able to delve into many spectrums of music like R&B, pop, hip hop, electronica and probably more contemporary genres. She has definitely been reading out of Lorde’s book on her claim to fame, while also being compared to other major singer-songwriters like Aaliyah and Lana Del Rey. The smooth dark jam to her voice is the quality to her album that has the power to make anybody just close their eyes and drift away.
“Goddess” is definitely worth a listen, coming from a beautiful new artist with a fresh sound. While Banks' feminist themes are profound and may attract a female audience, that doesn’t mean that guys shouldn’t have a listen as well. Get her while she’s hot though, because her lovely voice may hit radio stations soon and we all know what happens from there.