WPGM Recommends: BANKS – Serpentina (Album Review)

After having left her fans to meditate on III, American singer, songwriter and poet BANKS has released her fourth studio album titled Serpentina.

One thing we can all relate to and agree to appreciate is a musician that is consistent in their content releases. Since the release of her first full album, Goddess, BANKS has succeeded in consistently releasing quality compositions filled with enough songs to keep her fans going until her next release.

Her rollout is definitely worthy of praise and each project brings us closer to the person that she is as well as the experiences that she details in her lyrics.

When I put on my headphones to listen to Serpentina, I expected to, yet again, be gently whisked away into the corners of her life that mirrored love or the lack thereof, however, BANKS definitely took a turn in the direction of this composition.

This album did not feel like the usual gentle slopes that she has produced in the past, instead it felt dark, liberating and more like an elaborate display of some personal declarations that assert her individuality as a musician.

While her alternative R&B sounds remained, her messages were intertwined with an edge and alluring presence from a gentle self-loving woman. This is not to say that she portrayed the opposite in this body of work, but instead that this is a compilation that highlighted the other traits that make up her overall person and perspectives.

It is as though she allowed us to visit unchartered corners of her creative brain and gave us access to more than what we thought we knew. This form of expression is a striking production that is fittingly introduced in her first song titled “Misunderstood”.

If I had just one penny for, every time somebody didn’t get me, I wouldn’t need this hustle, man / But, damn, I love this hustle / You don’t have to understand

These lyrics start of this project in such a way that, in retrospect, alert you of the changes that will be taking place in her music as we know it.

From there, we are vigorously directed to a different musical path where she unpacks her survival tactics during her trying times. Three songs which embody this thought are “F**k Love”, “The Devil” and “Skinnydipped”.

While each are different in delivery and tone, with “F**k Love” being a trap production and “The Devil” being more of dark dance vibe, I feel as though each song reclaims her position against her battles and unpleasantries.

On “The Devil”, BANKS circles around reforming to become the devil in order to overcome her demons, which is what she’s relayed on more than on occasion. It’s a song that teases a sensual way of being and opens us up to celebrating BANKS in her way of being and overcoming.

BANKS continues to convey her strong and bold messages of courage in her only feature with Samoht, titled “Spirit” which is the rarest of things coming from the artist and another pleasant surprise amongst others.

Of course, even with the enjoyable differences that BANKS explores in Serpentina, we cannot overlook the familiar ballads of love and devotion that she displays in “Burn” and “I Still Love You”, which serves as a perfect way to tie up this new journey.

This 13-song composition contained many points upon which I would have loved to elaborate on, however I fear too many words would make them lost in translation. This album is one which you can only fully appreciate once you have examined each song thoroughly.

Listen to BANKS’ Serpentina below and purchase it here.

Word by Kimberleigh Campher

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