Banks is Still Extremely Sexy, Dangerously Bitter, and Very Sad On 'III'

If you’re hung up on someone, let me prescribe you a heavy dose of Banks. She specializes in seductively grotesque songs like “Contaminated” which might help you release some of that pent-up resentment. Or not. Either way, the bitterness of her voice, the violence of the beat, and the lusty lyrics will give you the taste of sweet release so you don’t resort to actually hitting anyone with your car. 

It’s a moody, almost passive-aggressive song Banks directs at her paramour. She whispers, “And you love me like you promised your wife,” but the lack of subtlety makes it feel more like a slap in the face. Banks tries to tempt him to stay (“You memorized the lines of my thighs” is, let’s be honest, very hot) while also trying to convince herself to leave. She understands that their love is tainted, but every time he starts to pull away, she holds on even tighter. Her voice spirals on the repeating lyric, “You start letting me go,” effectively communicating how trapped she is in her feelings for him. Other than that, there’s very little variety in the pitch or tempo — it’s mostly one slow-moving dirge that chokes the listener with the tension of a doomed relationship. 

She slips into something softer for “What About Love.” The bluesy musicality is surprising from someone who situates themselves very steadfastly in highly-synthesized R&B. It maintains the directness and repetition of “Contaminated,” but the harsh beat and flat vocals are replaced with swelling instruments and trilling arpeggios. For someone who hides in rage, it’s nice to see her get really vulnerable about the way she’s hurting. It’s not a happy ending by any means, but it might just be a new start.