I knew Goddess was going to be a strong album if the EP's and singles that preceded it were any indication and the debut album by Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jillian Banks, who records simply as Banks, did not disappoint. I first came across Banks' music in late 2013 when "Waiting Game" knocked me on the floor upon my first listen. After checking out her two EP's and every single that followed, it was just a matter of waiting in anticipation for the full length that was announced for a September release.
Banks' music falls in that hybrid of R&B and electronic and she enlisted many of the top producers in that growing field to help her with this album. Jamie Woon, Shlomo, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and my personal favorite, SOHN, are among the names utilized here to collaborate with Banks on her songs. As expected, the bulk of the album is made up of tracks from those earlier EP's and singles, but given the strength of those songs, that was a no brainer. "This Is What It Feels Like", "Change", "Drowning" and the SOHN collaboration "Waiting Game" all had to be included here. I was disappointed that "Before I Ever Met You" was not, but thankfully it appears on the "Deluxe Version", which was sold exclusively at Target and contains four tracks not on the proper album.
Of the previously unheard material that appears on Goddess, another collaboration with SOHN, "Alibi" shines. He has quickly become one of my favorite producers as my favorite album of 2014 will show. Also standing out from the pack are two ballads, the piano led "You Should Know Where I'm Coming From" and "Someone New" which is stripped down to just Banks' vocals and an acoustic guitar. Both are lovely and it's refreshing to see Banks can deliver just as well without the wall of electronics her material is usually drenched in.
I was able to catch Banks live when her Goddess Tour came to Detroit this fall. Judging from the packed house, heavy with young females who have connected with her honest and empowering lyrics, Banks is only going to continue to get bigger and I'm thrilled she has found a loyal audience so quickly. Goddess lived up to the hype.
Favorite tracks: "Waiting Game", "Someone New", "This Is What It Feels Like", "Beggin For Thread"
Goddess was released September 9, 2014 via Harvest Records.