After hearing her EP and promo singles, I definitely had high expectations for Banks‘ debut album Goddess. However, this should be an example of how you shouldn’t go into anything with high hopes because you’re almost always going to be let down in some way or form.
Goddess begins with “Alibi,” an unimpressive attempt at a sultry R&B/indie singer-songwriter track set to a background filled with less-than-unique electronic instrumentation. Throughout the album Banks works hard to prove her versatility, but tracks like “Brain” (which has a very similar to Lorde‘s “Tennis Court”) and “Someone New” (an emotional-yet-slighty-subdued Birdy-esque song meets a romantic element similar to Taylor Swift‘s “Enchanted”) show that she is still testing the waters as to where she wants to go as an artist.
However, Banks has a gift for creating absolutely beautiful and heart-felt lyrics whether she’s singing of a broken heart (“This Is What It Feels Like,” “Change,” “Drowning”) or being amassed by love or lust (“Stick,” “Warm Water,” “Fuck Em Only We Know”). “Beggin For Thread” has high radio hit potential with the perfect amount of trance-like instrumentation and ear catching, anthem-like vocals while the album’s title track could easily find a place on the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack (anyone who has read the book would know why).
Goddess ends with the beautifully somber, piano and string infused “Under The Table,” a song that really showcases her the passion in her crystal clear voice and potential to grow. The deluxe edition includes 4 bonus tracks that show both unsureness (“And I Drove You Crazy,” “Bedroom Wall”) and massive potential (“Before I Met You” and the worldly Kongos-meets-Bastille-esque “Fall Over”).
Even though Goddess lacked the sparkle I thought it would have, it still produced some pretty amazing tracks that show that Banks does have what it takes to rock the world with “Waiting Game,” “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From,” and “Before I Met You.”
“Waiting Game” is hands down the best song on the album and is really the track that puts in the game with the other singer-songwriter hotshots. Deep, emotion riddled lyrics about the realization of being in love with this person is ultimately bringing you (and possibly your career) down becomes relatable to the listener in an instant and you can’t help but place yourself in the scenario. Its words paired with a bass filled, R&B/indie rock genre splice turn it into sultry music baby making music with an underlying dark theme.
Bonus track “Before I Ever Met You” probably should have been placed directly after “Waiting Game” with its modern speakeasy feel and bluesy-yet-romantic vocals the reminisce on how she ultimately grew from the relationship. In the later track “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From,” Banks completely opens up about who she is – a flawed, broken person who doesn’t receive the same amount of love that she puts in. With significantly less electronics and distortions, you can hear the raw beauty and vulnerability in her voice a lot of artists find hard to let out.
Goddess is certainly not a terrible album because she has potential to be a great, well-known artist. Unfortunately, because we live in a world filled with unique sounding female singer-songwriters like Lorde, Lana Del Ray and Ellie Goulding, Banks is going to have to fight harder for her music to shine again her musical competition. Her debut album has all of the dark, sexy, soulful qualities like that of The Neighbourhood and she floods each track with lyrical and vocal emotion. She should utilize her time before her next release to distinguish herself from the similar artists and to hone in on what her style is instead of playing around with multiple genres.