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A Belated Appreciation Of BANKS’ Triumphant Return, Accompanied By A Lot Of Words On Her Last Album

I meant to write this post like two weeks ago but listen… everything’s fine… better late than never, right? This song deserves a post no matter how much of a mess I am, and I have a lot of Opinions, so strap in.

It’s no secret that BANKS has long been one of my favorite artists. Her no-holds-barred writing approach, sultry and versatile vocal ability, and hard-hitting synth production have captivated me since I first started paying attention to pop music outside of the American Top 40. So when I learned she was releasing a new single last month, I was pretty hyped, if a little apprehensive.

BANKS‘ last album The Altar was pretty strong, if not quite as magnificent as her debut Goddess (which includes such iconic tracks as her breakout single Waiting Game, and her most successful single to date, Beggin’ For Thread). The Altar’s greatest success lies in the balance it strikes between evolving her sound enough to feel fresh, and maintaining the hallmarks of her musical identity. Unfortunately, her marketing team did a poor job of presenting this to the general public.

If you somehow haven’t noticed, I have very strong feelings about the rollout of her last album. The lead single, Fuck With Myself, was so over-the-top it was almost off-putting to anyone not intimately familiar with her writing. Sure, it showcased her ~edgy~ side, and the double meaning of the lyrics is admirably clever, but it didn’t adequately represent her breadth and certainly wasn’t radio friendly. It’s just not the lead single we deserved after 3 long years (Underdog doesn’t count). The follow up, Gemini Feed, was much more palatable and the smartest promotional decision her team made, but couldn’t regenerate the hype wasted on their first release. The subsequent releases were sad and quiet, which is all well and good as a teaser for already dedicated fans, but not particularly helpful for garnering a broader audience. By the time the full record was released, a third of the album was already out, and no song made a significant dent in the charts.

I, of course, still listened to the record the day it came out, and was immediately dismayed at how poorly it had been represented during its rollout. The Altar has so many possible lead singles (JUSTICE FOR POLTERGEIST, which featured a vocal sample from Hold On Jus’ a Li’l While Longer by Sounds of Darkness that was promptly ripped by Zedd for his smash hit Stay feat. Alessia Cara). It has depth and intimacy, and plays to BANKS’ vocal strengths. Much of this wasn’t made remotely evident when it was most crucial for these elements to be emphasized.

My frustration was justified when Trainwreck, EASILY the punchiest and most universally appealing track on the record, became a fan favorite, enough so to garner a belated video release. The video is far and away the most interesting and conceptually developed visual she’s put out, but this rescue attempt came too late to salvage the damage that had already been inflicted.

This whole rant, which has gotten entirely out of hand, is all to say that I was pretty apprehensive that we were heading for round two of a massive marketing snafu that would do BANKS a huge disservice. I am massively relieved to have been proven wrong.

Gimme, which came out on April 29th, is everything we deserve in a BANKS single. Hard hitting electronic synths, an eclectic beat, evocative and confident lyrics, and a seamless blend of autotuned vocal effects and raspy runs. Sure, there’s still too much swearing for mainstream radio, but it’s such a bop that I don’t think it’ll much matter. The lyrics are frankly somewhat unintelligible, but I can forgive that in favor of the immaculate production present here; BJ Burton and Australia’s own Kito both make an appearance. All in all, I couldn’t ask for much more in a highly anticipated comeback track.

BANKS confirmed during its premiere on Radio 1 that Gimme is the lead single for an upcoming album, and I’m already preparing myself to play it on repeat for several months. I cannot encourage you enough to do the same. With that recommendation, I sign off from this ramble and wish you happy listening.


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