Bees are abuzz with talk of Gifts, Dates, Celebrations and the likes this month. For some reason the air smells super fresh (cosmic forces at work or nah?), like Flowers are instantly blooming and suddenly the air smells beautiful, fruitful perhaps. Everyone is all about love and relationships with the exception of few or lots who are either single, have no love to celebrate or are just not interested.
This review is for those who’ve been hurt, those who’ve been used, those who’ve been fed off, those who’ve been taken advantage of and left to wither.
TIP: Said relationship does not have to have been a romantic one. An abusive relationship with a family member, friend or a ‘body’ suffices in this case. All you have to do is think of the lyrics as metaphors.
So, whether or not you’ve moved on or gotten back on your feet, giving Banks ‘The Altar’ a listen commensurates lifting your spirits, dragging yourself out of whatever emotional well you’re wallowing in and possibly reveling in the fact that coming out of a parasitic relationship is something worth celebrating this season. So if you’re one of those who has created a pity party for yourself or still dwelling on what you lost or what you miss , stop that, take a bottle of wine and some cake , pick up your Controller and put ‘The Altar’ on speakers.
Armed with a coarse though dreamy voice, Banks stole my heart with her exhilarating but stricken lyrics, ominous background vocals and mellow but fierce instrumentals on her sophomore Album ‘The Altar’. Lady Gaga meets Lana Del Ray, 28 years old Jillian Banks; professionally known as Banks delivered an Album in which she masterfully fused Pain and Redemption. Banks vocalized her emotional abuse but also sang about independence & a newly found soaring confidence. I guess one can attribute her ability to bring the dark-side and purity in a music piece to the 6 years she’s been in the Industry and about 4 music collections to her name in which singles like; Goddess, Fuck With Myself and Gemini Feed came out of.
In this Masterpiece, she swaps minds with that of her listener, she fuses thoughts with addictive and racy instrumentals that leave you hazy and applied to her situation. As you evolve with her on this Album from the introducing track; Gemini Feed to Weaker Girl; a story of how she has evolved emotionally and can now stand up for herself to Mother Earth; a ‘call-to’ anthem for all struggling women (and men if you can relate) to Poltergeist to 27 Hours; a tale of how she tried to redeem an endangered Lover, you begin to see yourself in her world.
Having listened to the Album in its entirety, I chose the following three songs as MY top three picks off the Album.
In my 19 years on Earth, I have rarely come across songs in which the artiste smoothly blends the instrumentals, story and vocals to form the perfect potion for the listener to drink and be truly taken. Banks begins this masterpiece with background sounds of chirping birds giving off a spacey, natural vibe, then she spikes things up with traditional drum beats and background clapping gradually initiating you to her sad sad tale. She caps it off with lazy but firm vocals. Genius describes it as ‘a tropical-infused electro track’ which is exactly what it is. A ritual to appease your mind, to extract the dark side of you, to immerse you in coarse vocals and pain. Banks uses her voice and spirit man to evoke your spirit man to align itself to wavey wavelengths. Like a Prey is haunted by its Predator in the Wild, so is she haunted by her Man. “What do you want? I wanna know. You messed me up when you let me go“ she sings. Similarly lots of us have been in relationships like this in which we’re fed off like animals at the bottom of the food chain. Parasitic relationships I call them. Not all relationships are a ‘bed of roses’ you know.
The song that got me hooked and the Intro to the Album, Banks begins her intro by chanting her accusation to the man who took advantage of her naivety on the platform of soft classical piano tunes with a raw voice, then she dreamily begins to serenade you to heavy bass beats onto which she sings about how he was the Lord and she, the Serf. “And to think you would get me to the altar. Like I’d follow you around like a Dog that needs water, but admit it, that you wanted me smaller. If you would’ve let me grow, you could’ve kept my love”. Sultrily and sonorously, she confesses that she still wants him (being human and all). ‘An ode to her two thighs’ we realize from this piece that like a whole lot of us, Banks dreamed of going back to her Predator but as she steps off her music high, as the instrumentals become more peaceful, its clear that there’s no going back.
As Banks aligns her lustrous vocals with booming background beats and the hard rhythms of this song, we see her putting her feet down and distancing herself from a toxic relationship. “Hey, I heard it from the state. They told me you were never gonna let me get away, and if you took me fishing you would never give me bait. I had to get away, I had to get away”. On Trainwreck, Banks went hard. Veering off her normal dark electro-pop style, she adds a bit of Hip-Hop to this piece with lyrics delivered on a fast pace, sounding almost like she’s rapping and we all know how you get so deep in your feelings when listening to Rap (at least I do). She then drags out the prelude to the chorus as though she’s trying to make her point resonate within herself and her Lover. “When I come through, you were dark blue, and I saved you from your darker days. Born to take care of you, or I thought so, maybe it was just a phase”, she chants. Now instead of taking a break, she picks up where she started from (back with the fast paced singing and speedy instrumentals) and affirms her moving on. So with the combination of heady lyrics, sonorous singing and booming instrumentals, Banks tells of the Trainwreck she is, of the Trainwreck she’s experienced and of the crisis averted.
Choosing these three songs as my top three was no walk in the park for me seeing as the Album is filled with other brilliant pieces such as Fuck with Myself (a personal favorite), Weaker Girl, Mother Earth, Poltergeist … the list goes on. The Altar is an album borne out of hurt and the harsh realities of the world. Each song is a mood and a reflection of her struggles. The daring instrumentals are a canvas upon which Banks has painted her story. An album of varying emotions, Banks stripped off her pride, brought down her walls and took away all traces of materialism.Why not wallow in this instead, celebrate real life and emotional scars, not just love in this merry merry season of Love.
Below are download avenues for y’all.