By Kelly Peacock
I wish I could say I’ve listened to Banks before. I had heard things about her and her talents, but I never took the time to listen. It wasn’t until I heard her new album The Altar that I realized the extent of how powerful love, self-respect and independence is, especially when expressed in the form of music. Banks’ new album is the epitome of a self-respecting woman moving on from a toxic relationship.
A friend of mine sent me one of the songs off the album, telling me I’d love the lyrics. After listening to the album in full a dozen times since it was released, she was right. I am eternally grateful for my friend for showing me this album, just as much as I am eternally grateful for the inspiration coming from Banks.
The thirteen-tracked album is full of funky, feel-good beats and Jillian Banks’ haunting voice of attitude and passion; yet, the lyrics are what I love the most. While lyrics and poetry go hand in hand when writing music, Banks’ words are so much more than that. In her lyrics, she is proving how strong and confident she is; it’s almost a slap in the face to anybody who doesn’t respect or appreciate her. Banks is pure poetry and practically everything I aspire to be.
“Gemini Feed”: Admit it, that you wanted me smaller / if you would have let me grow / you could have kept my love.
She’s putting the spotlight on him, his negativity and the way he makes her shrink—and that’s how he lost her. Nonetheless, she knows doesn’t need him to grow. It’s a feel-good song and the lyrics make me feel like being independent is the best thing I can be for myself.
“Fuck With Myself”: I used to care what you think about me / it’s all love / cause my love so good / so I fuck with myself more than anybody else.
This song is an anthem. She repeats a certain phrase over and over throughout the song, almost as if she’s trying to drill it into the listeners’ head until we feel the same way. She’s coming to terms with the downfall of the relationship and how she doesn’t care about it anymore. She only needs herself, just like I only need me.
“Lovesick”: I aint even ashamed / and I’m caught up for some time in your sheets / would you be down to spend all your time with me? / cause I’m love sick.
This song is the epitome of loving somebody else, feeling weak, and not being ashamed of it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, either; loving somebody can be cool. It’s a relatable song and it proves that there can be a soft side, against the girl-power-I-don’t-need-you vibes.
“Mind Games”: The way you say you love me / like you’ve just been reprimanded / cause I know you like mind games.
It’s a haunting song, leaving me almost hypnotized. After listening to the song over and over again, all I can say is that the lyrics are simply, pure poetry.
“Trainwreck”: I saved you, from your darker days / born to take care of you / or I thought so, baby, it was just a phase.
Throughout the song, she’s admitting that she is a mess, but not nearly as bad as him. She tried to save him from himself but in the end, it was no good. It’s something I can relate to (and I’m sure others can to); it’s a comfort that we’re not perfect and we can’t save people from themselves.
“This Is Not About Us”: I see you clinging to your pinch of hope / trying to get up in my bed / you should be thinking of a way of moving on instead.
My favorite thing about the idea I’m getting from the lyrics is the concept of moving on: she has, he hasn’t. He strung her along and expected and hoped she would always be there for him, but she won’t be anymore. She moved on and I am so grateful that she’s showing me how easy it could be.
“Weaker Girl”: I let you go / tell them you were mad about the way I grew strong / I think you need a weaker girl.
The first curse word she spit out was in the first verse and it grabbed my attention; it was the strength in the way she sang the words that gave me goose bumps. This song is frighteningly powerful and I adore it.
“Mother Earth”: He’s so hallow / my baby / made him blind until he wasted fate / so I’m left behind until he curse my sorrow / but I know I’m mother earth.
This is what I admire the most: the grace and softness in the music along with the words that are full of strength. She is a comfort to him. She has the power and she and him both know it.
“Judas”: Don’t need you to make an effort, this should be effortless / nothing can last forever and you’re such a pessimist / I was your prized possession, and who was your exorcist? / Thought you was heaven-sent, you left for the hell of it.
It’s a betrayal song and she’s calling it like she sees it. He was never home to her, but he wanted her to stay. He was pretentious and resentful when she left. Although he hurt her, she’s moving on. Her attitude is what makes me feel like it’s easy to let go of and move on from toxic people.
“Haunt”: You messed me up when you let me go / now you come back cause your ego is stroked / from the way that I cracked after you let me go.
When they parted ways, he found satisfaction in her heartbreak. She’s haunted by the idea of the realization that he’s not coming back. It reminds me of the way people ghost each other and how it can be hard to accept their disappearances.
“Poltergeist”: Why’d you call me here? You don’t even know / acting like a fool when you mull it over / make it go away, you won’t even know.
This is another ghosting song—because you can never get enough of somebody ghosting you. You let it happen. However, in this song, she’s questioning him when he leaves and comes back and leaves and comes back again; she knows he’s a fool and she wants him to go away for good. Relatable.
“To The Hilt”: People say we’re better off, you couldn’t keep up / I still keep one broken piece / the one that fits in that chip on your shoulder.
When I first listened to this song, I cried. This soft song has lyrics that are bellowing in passion and heartbreak. She keeps a broken piece of their relationship with her and lets it rest proudly on him. It’s a sadder song and although it makes me ache, I love it.
“27 Hours”: While we waited, days that never came / time just flies, but I still carry on.
These lyrics end the album with a powerful yawp, especially in the chorus. She says that although the relationship is dead and there has been some time since she saw the light that burned them out, she knows that she can carry on without him.
Although most of the album is full of self-respecting, independent girl vibes, there are songs shedding love and comfort to somebody else. Even so, hearing the words from a woman as strong as Banks inspires me. She is strong enough to let go and move on from toxic relationships; it helps me do the same. Banks and this album proved to me that it’s not only possible to shed strength in self-respect and love, but it’s almost easy. She helped me realize that your being is the most important person in your life. Each day of moving on will get easier while you grow stronger, if you find the right words to say.