Banks, “Fuck With Myself”

Lena Rubin

Jillian Banks, alias BANKS, is back with a a single from an album upcoming this Fall entitled “Fuck With Myself,” with an entrancing video to match. The video opens with ominous static sound, silhouetted bodies, and then a visceral opening verse with lyrics like, “I push my body through the floor, lurk.” Later she comments “this whole relationship is underwater,” creating a surreal physicality through which to view the relationship described.

Quickening strings and drum beats accompany a tableau of contorted women’s bodies, splashed with purple and blue light, as Banks describes dissatisfaction with a dispassionate romantic partner. She concludes, whispers playfully, exaggerating the vowels, in the hook of the song, “I fuck with myself more than anybody else does.” This exclamation is complex, as is the mood of the song at large. The narrator of the song isn’t dismissing romantic relationships in the name of self love; this isn’t exactly 90s inspired independent-girl power. Though Banks has been compared to early-aughts vocalists like Fiona Apple and Aaliyah, this video speaks more to the creepy, understated aesthetics of millennial artists like FKA Twigs. “Fuck with Myself” is especially reminiscent of Twigs “Water Me,” which uses digital effects and vocal modulations to tell a slightly unsettling ghost-girl love story.

As in Water Me, Banks’ video plays with the female form: whereas Twigs is manipulated to look like a doll, Banks is seen embracing what seems to be a bust of herself, a realistic yet inanimate simulacrum. In other shots, she is caressed by a group of writhing, double-jointed, masked women.

Through both the lyrics and visuals of “Fuck with Myself,” Banks seems to explore the double significance of the phrase itself. Has the speaker in the song learned self-love in the face of romantic negligence, or is she commenting on her own powers of self-destruction? By the end of the song the truth remains clouded, thus irrevocably complicating the narrative of female self-love and exploring its contradiction.

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