Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Serpentina by Banks: The Only Album You’ll Need in 2022

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I, for one, like to find new music before summer starts, just so I have new comforting sounds to drive around to, accompany my 3am thoughts, and be nostalgic about the past when the fall and winter seasons come too soon again. 

Our middle school years—2012-2015, for me, were defined by the music we all feel a certain sentiment for almost a decade later. It was around this time that the songs Begging for Thread and Waiting Game circulated on our radios and on iTunes, both sung by the artist Jillian Banks, known more commonly by her last name, BanksWhile those songs meandered out of the back of my mind near graduation, my appreciation for this invaluable underground artist grew in the summer of 2019, when her third studio album, III, dropped on July 12th. Those songs—a complete change from her first two albums, but still as equally empowering—became my anthems for the transitional period between the victory of high school and the brink of the intimidating, yet invigorating college life.  

Admittedly, when Banks’s new album, Serpentina, dropped just a month ago on April 8th, I was caught a bit off-guard—amidst the non-stop calamity that junior year of undergrad has forced me into, I rarely have time to catch up with celebrity and artist happenings, let alone the ones I actually care about. Luckily, a promotional Instagram post from her alerted me that I might be able to get some enjoyment out of testing the waters of the album on a rainy Friday night drive. 

By the end of the drive, I was reminded of why it’s a good life, a damn good life, to be a Banks fan. And anybody who’s not, I guarantee it, is missing out. 

The first song, Misunderstood, although less than two minutes long and more of an introduction to what’s to come, succeeded in having me desperately search for my phone to hit the replay button, just to hear it again, and again, and maybe five more times after that. I don’t have the same life as anyone I know, and I’ll never be able to fathom the struggles of the hundreds of people I pass by in my everyday life. But what I do know is that we’ve all felt the lyrics, please let me be misunderstood, to our core, which makes this song emotionally strengthening for everyone who’s on the other end of Banks’s genius. There’s power in just being your own person, without the true grasp of others, and this song reminds me that life doesn’t require outside validation of your obstacles, nor do we have to fully make sense of the world around us all the time, or really, ever. Banks reminds us all, you don’t have to understand.

Meteorite is the second track of the thirteen on Serpentina, not skipping a beat in continuing the ground-breaking melodies included in the album opener. The trope of the convoluted and complicated love narrative is a common theme in many genres of music these days, but Banks, for the fourth album in a row, has again hit the nail on the head when poetically and uniquely describing the heartache, melancholy, bittersweetness, and anger that reminiscing about that certain person can bring. While she consistently brings listeners back to a state of reminiscence and wonder in Meteorite, the same can be said for the following of F*ck Love (track 3), Deadend (track 4), and Birds by the Sea (track 9).

A precursor to the album, Banks’s song The Devil was released back in June 2021, with an accompanying video published soon after as the song’s visual sister. I recall in an interview around when III was released, the artist has mentioned her joy of writing somewhat random, perhaps bizarre lyrics, with The Devil embodies that practice perfectly. Although it may be difficult for some listeners to find a literal interpretation to some of the lines in this song, the sense of empowerment that it brings is undeniable nevertheless. The creativity in Banks’s lyrics, apart from the superficiality of what seems to occupy a large part of the music industry today, is a taste of something new. This element, paired with her music’s comprehension of the perfectly dramatic beats and melodies, always seamlessly come together, without miss, to create an atmosphere where anyone can, with just one listen, reach their mind’s most daring ambitions.

Banks, in addition to her intriguing literary abilities in songwriting, possesses the rhythms and sounds to send her listeners to their own metaphorical tops of the world. When she made an Instagram post on April 14th asking followers what their favorite song on Serpentina is, the comments pointed to a tie in between Deadend and Unleavable (valid picks, I will admit.) I’ll passionately counter-argue, however, that Burn instead deserves the crown for the song that truly prevails. Tucked away as the eighth track on the album, the song’s slower tempo makes you second-guess what can possibly come next—and the answer, in my opinion, is an ever-emotional account of a relationship where one person has given, and will continue to give, everything in their power to the person they love, as a result of the history that complicatedly intertwines them. We’ve all felt these complexities before, and Banks tenderly cares for what we’ve all gained or lost, in the name of love, through the four minutes of Burn.

I hope I’ve made my case for why Jillian Banks and her music, a diamond in the rough, a hidden gem, a true artist, have made a profound impact on my young adult life. If you’ll do me a favor, or perhaps more yourself a favor, hop on Spotify and give Serpentina and her other albums a much-needed chance, or give her a follow on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and scroll through her website. Lastly, if everything I’ve written here proves itself to be true in your eyes, grab your wallets—Banks’s Serpentina North American tour kicks off in San Diego on May 25th, and will catapult into full swing in Europe starting September 15th. As she comes to an intimate venue in Seattle on August 7th, you’ll find me lined up first at the door.

Hailey Hummel

Washington '23

Hailey is a current junior at the University of Washington, majoring in Public Health—Global Health (with departmental honors), and minoring in Law, Societies, and Justice. She loves hiking, traveling around the state of Washington and the world, making art, playing piano, taking pictures, and spending time with her friends.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️