On July 12th, 2019 Banks released her highly anticipated third album, III. Banks played her first live show in nearly two years at Chicago’s House of Vans the night before and it was absolutely mind blowing. It’s been an incredible honor to have witnessed the growth in Banks’ artistry from album to album. Her sophomore release, The Altar was a solid 10 so topping it seemed almost impossible, and then III came along. Banks has always worn her heart on her sleeve, but this album is a dive head-first into the deepest parts of her world.
Initially, the intense electronic melody from the lead single, “Gimme” was a bit surprising. However, with Banks’ haunting vocals over a synth background, the point of this release was meant to shock listeners. “Gimme” is empowering, honest, and straight-up badass. Banks is demanding the respect she and all of us so rightfully deserve. It’s the perfect bass-heavy, fierce tune to put on when searching for a boost of confidence.
The fifth track, titled “Godless” reflects on a past relationship in Banks’ life. Banks has said that an ex-boyfriend originally began writing this song during the time of her first album, Goddess, and she finished it. The God mentioned throughout the song is likely a reference to her debut. The religious metaphor also emphasizes the intensity of the relationship. The admiration they have for each other goes beyond love and stands on the verge of worship.
“Propaganda” is the tenth track on III. This track describes the moment where Banks realizes that she is in the midst of a problem that she can not overcome on her own. She calls out to her mother on the track, pleading for assistance as she would’ve done when she was a child. When referencing the windows not making any sounds, Banks seems to be screaming for a savior while everyone around her just looks on in silence.
“If We Were Made Of Water” is one of the most delicate tracks on the album. It’s calming and heartfelt as it begins to birds chirping and waves crashing. Banks wishes for things to be simpler, as she begs her lover to understand what could’ve been: “But I’m hurting from the way that this worked out. If you could rearrange your words, you could’ve saved it.” Referring to herself and her lover as the water, Banks knows things would have been easier if they were made of the same substance.
Overall, Banks has taken a massive step forward in her development as an artist. The lyricism on each track proves that. She pushed herself to new levels musically, specifically stepping out of her comfort zone with a few higher energy tracks and it paid oﬀ. The three years between albums were worth every minute. III is creative, bold and beautifully composed.