Track Review: Banks – Better

Despite being specked in gold, there’s something dirty about Banks in her new, seductive track ‘Better’. After the Californian songstress left us reeling over her deeply emotional debut LP, Goddess, Jillian Rose Banks has returned with this brooding and luscious new single. Sounding at her most vulnerable, Banks offers an edgy and candid slice of R&B pie, and it goes down a treat. 

Looped backing vocals writhe around the track, slowly percolating a thick layer of reverb. Banks takes full control of the song with her strong vocal presence, ranging from seductive whispers to full-on cries of despair. In truth, as she repeats “I can love you better than she / I can love you better than she can”, hushed over a dissonant beat, it becomes harder and harder to disagree with her.

“Whether she’s begging her ex for sex or to love her again, the message translates into a deeply sombre yet exciting track”

Simultaneously sexy and moody, Banks is building a reputation as one of R&B’s greatest enigmas. Indeed, it is not hard to see why she has accumulated such a dedicated following. Unlike your regular, fluid pop song, ‘Better’ is fragmented: broken down into pieces with intermittent piano and an undercurrent of bass. As the track is slower-paced than her earlier catalogue of singles, Banks catches the listener off guard, rather than cannoning them with a backdrop of overwhelming pop beats and scathing rhythms. She has diluted the metronome of her music, and rediscovered her love for melody.

Sonically, ‘Better’ is not a million miles away from the swelling dark-pop anthems that stitched her debut album together, but her songwriting is evidently maturing into something much grander. Angrier than ‘Begging For Thread’ and more honest than ‘Waiting Game’, ‘Better’ is a snapshot of the struggle to heal after a break up. Whether she’s begging her ex for sex or to love her again, the message translates into a deeply sombre yet exciting track. Tapping into her emotions like never before, Banks’ ‘Better’ could be the start of something special. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too long for this intense, pulsating sound to manifest itself into album number two.

Watch the video for ‘Better’ here.

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