The buildup to Banks’ sophomore album is only becoming more painful for fans. Her latest single, “To the Hilt” proves to be another emotional piano ballad where Banks’ relaxed tone once again wows. Her lyrics remain as poetic as ever as she reflects on a love she once had, “All those times you warmed my hand, maybe things weren’t easy as they seem.” All Banks needs is a piano and microphone to prove her endless musicality. To the Altar can’t come soon enough and I’m already bowing down to her.
Mac Miller just came back in a big way. Dating pop’s favorite high-profile princess and releasing a brand new album, collabing with Ty Dolla $ign, Kendrick Lamar, and even Ariana Grande herself. Turning down about ten notches, The DivineFeminine proves to be one of Miller’s calmest efforts yet. The tracks are more of a deep eclectic compilation, making you feel warm and cozy instead of ready to pick up a solo cup.
Fans had a taste of this musical shift early on with the vibey summer single, “Dang!”
featuring soulman Anderson Paak. It feels like Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” mixed with Motown, mixed with Big Band, mixed with R&B, and dipped in a vat of soft rap. Nothing’s aggressive and the musicality is at its peak. The verses are sweet & sour, making you pay attention to every word for fear you’ll miss the point. This is the Mac we should all be listening to.
Ty Dolla $ign assists on standout track, “Cinderella” where Miller focuses on a woman he’s in love with. A melancholy riff repeats itself as mellow hip-hop beats ooze into your body. “You in my dreams that’s why I sleep all the time, just to hear you say I love you, just to touch you,” Miller cohesively spits out.
Ripping a page out of rap master Kendrick Lamar’s book, “God is Fair, Sexy, Nasty” feels like a deep cut from Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. Miller went on Zayne Lowe Beats 1 Radio Show and commented on the album closer saying, “It sounds like being in the ocean, relaxing, calm, floating and just like there and comfortable in your thoughts, and that’s how the record ends, which is so awesome.”
Divine [dih-vahyn] – “Of or relating to a god, especially the Supreme Being.” There’s no doubt this album is an ode to not only women everywhere (thanks Mac!) but little Miss Ariana Grande. He drops Hansel & Gretel hints of her on almost every song, making you wonder if she was the sole muse of this project. Opening track, “Congratulations” features what sounds to be clips of her infamous child-like giggle along with another female voice saying, “The Divine Feminine, an album by Mac Miller.” Romantic piano notes then guide Miller’s soft vocals. This theatrical opener already sets Feminine apart from his previous work.
Miller admitted Feminine was inspired by love, telling billboard.com, “On the last album, I realized there’s no love songs, and I wanted to do a project based around that.” He also mentioned his duet (“Favorite Part”) with his girlfriend; “I wanted a foundation to paint on, something very simple with her.”
The melancholy tune off of the emotionally charged, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, has just been covered by singer VÉRITÉ. It starts slow and ballad-like as a female voice effortlessly plucks at your tear ducts. “I don’t want your body, but I hate to think about you with somebody else,” are some of the most heartbreakingly poetic lyrics The 1975 have put into the world and ones they should be proud of. Fans have been vibing to the song for months, claiming it as one of their favorites.
Lead singer Matt Healy conveys a sense of confusion in the song that Verte touches on in a different more light pop/female aspect that’s almost hard to describe. Her voice comes in angelic layers near the end of the song as she harmonizes and shows her vocal prowess. She seems to be a true underdog in the music scene; someone everyone should know about. She told Billboard.com, “‘Somebody Else’ is so simple, relatable and well written. I really wanted to take it into my world and reinterpret it a bit.” Covers usually end up not sounding right or being so perfect that you end up listening to them more than the original (*wink Sam Smith *wink *wink.) This one will never top the original but it is definitely worth listening to…maybe even on repeat…for a couple days…
Dreamy electronics spark a groove in your head as the lyrics, “I can be your paradise, I can make you feel alright,” start to play. The pulsing sound of the song make you believe you’re in paradise; jumping off cliffs and laying under the hot sun as warm sand lines your body. French producer, Les Gordon is the master behind this tune, using vocals by singer ADI. Her voice provides the sweet energy the song induces through the captivatingly perfect lyrics. “Cause every now and then I think of you, and every now and then I need you,” plead for you to be in love. The sound is more chill electronic than any sort of EDM rager. “Paradise” could lull you into the comfiest part of your couch for hours.
“Do you see me now?” she purrs on her latest single “Mind Games”
Banks recently revealed her sophomore album, The Altar will be released September 30. Following her classic black and white theme, the freckle faced singer is seen sans makeup, posing at the camera with a serious glance, much like her demeanor. If her lead single “Fuck With Myself” is any indication of what’s to come on Altar, fans are in for a saucy treat.
“Myself” starts out poetic; “I got two diamonds and a feather, gimme three reasons why we ain’t together, I push my body through the floor like, cause I fuck with myself more than anybody else.” Banks describes the title saying, “I wanted to convey that I am my own best friend. That I believe in myself and that I don’t care what others think. It can also mean I mess with myself more than anybody else. We can be our own bullies and our own biggest champions.” The accompanying music video takes a literal interpretation of the song.
Banks has always been known for her lyrical vulnerability writing about past toxic relationships with others and herself (listen to new singles, “Mind Games” and “Gemini Feed”) But the unique blend of R&B and electronica are what keep her fresh and modern. Phrases like, “And to think you would get me to the altar, like I follow you around like a dog that needs water,” illustrate a long-term relationship through creative metaphors – one of Banks’ many specialties. Songwriting is a huge strong suit for the singer, which is why each song is performed to perfection and executed with the highest production.
She seems to carry a mysterious aura around her that fans worship while her spilling sense of honesty remains empowering. The Altar will be like sitting in a church pew and watching a relationship succeed and fail right in front of you as the most beautiful light from a stained glass windows warms your inner thigh.