Putting actual song material as opposed to jingles in commercials is smart business. It attracts people to the advertised brand and the recording artist featured benefits from the exposure. Holiday ads from lingerie goddess Victoria Secret are usually very stimulating and appealing all on their own with elaborate sets and beautiful models in stunning costumes, but the company upped the ante for their already gorgeous 2013 Parisian-themed commercial with a haunting tune with lyrics that stopped me cold: “I'm thinking it over, the way you make me feel all sexy, but it's causing me shame…I don't wanna say your love is a waiting game.” I thought “please tell me this is a real song and not just the best jingle ever.” The song is called “Waiting Game” and the voice behind it is Jillian Banks, who simply goes by BANKS. The moments of quiet with piano and soft vocal, the pounding, drilling beat, the open-to-interpretation lyrics, the romantic danger, the moodiness—all things that can easily draw me to a song. Upon listening to more of BANKS via her Soundcloud profile, it seems ‘dramatic’ (and what has thus far been pegged as ‘alternative R&B;’ a term I have mixed feelings about, but that’s a different post for another day) is her chosen flair. Although the melodically-restrained style isn’t the catchiest and is somewhat of an acquired taste, the biggest plus is that brings focus and attention to lyrics, which typically are overlooked or aren’t analyzed because people tend to hear “the beat” 1st. BANKS’ lyrics give the impression that they’re intentional and thought-through, which is refreshing to me because it seems I’ve been inundated with simple, tacky and/or brainless. If you’re looking to get familiar with the personal side of BANKS, turn around because she’s a bit elusive; I couldn’t even find out how old she is. Her ‘official’ site is a post-stream Tumblr with no bio and her Twitter is mostly promotional. She’s toured with The WeekND and cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as her inspirations; Apple’s influence is most noticeable. She released 2 EP’s in 2013, “Fall Over” and “London,” under the Los Angeles based independent label, IAmSound Records and a U.S./England conglomerate, Harvest Records. Give a listen to “Waiting Game” and the steamy “Bedroom Wall” below and let me know what you think.
If there’s any doubt my ‘real song vs. jingle’ theory is accurate, just call Evolution of Smooth (EOS) Skin and Lip Care and they’ll tell you I’m right. EOS went from a barely-known, celebrity-exclusive brand to a company with a must-have product (hydrating, flavored lip balm in a pastel egg) through a colorful, dessert-craving-inducing commercial with a tinkling, bubbly ditty so happy that you wouldn’t guess it was an actual song, but I checked just in case (isn’t the young lady with curly hair in the ad gorgeous?!). Given its classic-soul vibe, I thought might be an Amy Winehouse-like recent artist, but “Say it with Love” turned out to be a recording from the 1960’s quartet The Exciters, who broke up in 1974. Their biggest hit was 1962’s “Tell Him.” They might have had even more success if not for racially-discriminating business practices; the group originally recorded the famous “Do-Wah-Diddy,” but it was handed off to Caucasian boy-band Manfred Mann. “Say it with Love” is below.
Say it with Love
So I love ABC’s “Nashville.” I was trying to find a clip where reformed train-wreck Avery (Jonathan Jackson) tells current train-wreck Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) that “love is helping someone be the best version of themselves” and I came across a fan-made video set to “Medicine” by the oddly-titled English band Daughter, which consists of lead-singer Elena Tonra, drummer Remi Aguilella and guitarist Igor Haefeli. About redemption, “Medicine” has short, repetitive lyrics, but it still managed to stand out to me; it just had this certain sadness to it. What can I say, I’m baited by poignancy. Daughter is currently signed to U.K. label, 4AD. The alternative ‘ambient’ rock trio gained British acclaim after 3 EP’s (“Medicine” is featured on “The Wild Youth”) and released their 1st full-length 4AD album “If You Leave” last year. Their official site wasn’t working when I visited it, but there’s a great deal of music on their YouTube page. You can purchase their music through ITunes here. Hear “Medicine” right down there.
1 of the reasons I love having VH1 Soul is that I can easily hear or catch up on new music and find some under-the-radar gems. The latest discovery I love is “Broken” by Daley. Don’t be mislead by the sporadic ‘techno-ness’ on the track; Daley is primarily an R&B act. Another English import (from Manchester), the 24-year-old singer-songwriter sticks out for a couple of points: 1) he has an adorable, curly Mohawk and 2) he has a slightly androgynous voice. Daley’s voice is smack in the middle between the definitive softness and deepness in which we normally distinguish male and female artists and his texture is so clear and smooth, it would make you unsure he was male if you hadn’t seen his appearance. Daley caught the attention of his eventual American recording label, Universal Republic, being a featured artist and co-writer on the Gorillaz’s Top 40 hit, “Doncamatic.” This spawned 4 EP’s, work with Jessie J (“Remember Me”) and Marsha Ambrosius (“Alone Together), sold-out shows in New York and London and finally, a studio album entitled “Days and Nights” with production from Bernard Butler, Shea Taylor and Pharrell Williams available now. Check out all things Daley here and get into “Broken” and “Let it Go” below.
Let it Go