Last week I bought the debut album 'Goddess' from L.A. based newcomer Banks. I will admit I was dubious. She has been so hyped, so blogged about, and tickets to her shows are already wildly overpriced for a fledgling artist. With all that exposure comes the inevitable doubt that she would live up to expectations and her success in doing so has clearly been a point of contention amongst critics. I have been listening to 'Goddess' non-stop. Admittedly the first listen was completed more through determination than enjoyment - I wanted to understand what all the fuss was about. But this is not an album to make a snap decision about and there was enough haunting beauty in certain songs that I went back for round two, and three, and four... Something had me hooked and the more I have listened, the more Bank's beautiful songs have unfurled their meanings to reveal an accomplished and gutsy songwriter.
In the bluntest/crudest way possible I respect any fragile looking "white" girl who can take a genre such as RnB and stamp her own truly individual take on it. She doesn't shy away lyrically either - her Drake-esque title 'Fuck em only we know' is just one of the ways in which she quietly defies the genre and even gender stereotypes which can still hold sway over the music industry.
This is an album to brood over so get in your car and go driving/walking/meandering aimlessly for an hour (the album is precisely 59 minutes long). To heighten the gloomy enjoyment, make sure its either raining or dark and that should do the trick. My top tip...? Whatever you do.... wallow. Wallow in whatever moody soundscape the song takes you to and I'm pretty sure you will begin to see that Banks has certainly lived up to the hype without ever needing to provide a radio-friendly number one, or a catchy hook infused lead track.
I'm not saying this is going to be the album of 2014, and it's certainly not flawless, but there are some real gems to be enjoyed and she's left herself some room for improvement which is something that excites rather than disappoints me.
Here are my favourite tracks if you can't be bothered to go through the wallowing process I have so painstakingly described above...
Beggin' For Thread - Probably the most pop-friendly track on the album
Before I Ever Met You - Grimy, dirty and driven by a lusty bassline, you go girl!
Under The Table - This song made me cry big fat tears of sadness, just beautiful
Waiting Game - "The way you make me feel all sexy but it's causing me shame", a sentiment of contrasting emotions that I'm sure most girls can relate to