While some critics have complained that he struggles for focus and an individual sound of his own, the Base can actually be said to be a fine album, one that doesn’t speak to the pretty people who know their place and purpose in the world but instead exemplifies the struggle that many of Generation Y feel, still struggling to work their way in between the Baby Boomers and the tech savvy late 90’s generation. With a generation that was browbeaten by their parents to get real jobs, and berated by younger siblings for their lack of forward thinking and innovation, Generation Y has often been an awkward group whose identity has constantly been in flux.
Unable to stand shoulder to shoulder with jock culture, but likewise unable to fit in with tech natives, Generation Y is a generation mired in a lack of personal identity and adrift in their aims and desires. The Banks album actually captures the ennui, uncertainty, and sense of letting down everyone who unhelpfully demanded from them things they weren’t given the tools or taught the skills to deliver.
In fact, with this theme in mind, some of the poorest received songs on the Banks album are in ways his best contributions to it.
Young Again is a distant and slightly unnerving look at the familiar feeling of nostalgia common to many when they consider childhood. It aches for the lack of responsibility of youth, when things could be done for enjoyment’s sake without a care for adult drudgery.
Described as “demented” by some, its disturbing echoes actually cast the commonly rose colored nostalgia instead through a lens so faintly stained grey that its barely noticeable as more than an emotional undercurrent.
“I’ll Sue You”
Outlining the struggle to distinguish oneself in Generation Y, litigation happy culture is practically given a spotlight for this song. The faintly unhealthy drums in this song keep pace with a rhythm of tense guitar to create a mood of desperation,
one that perfectly fits the theme of a lawsuit as a get rich easy tactic. It perfectly fits the envy and covetousness of someone with little preparation being told to aim high but given only a footstool to stand on to reach a penthouse.
A portrait of a person who is desperate to shunt responsibility off on someone else, Another Chance is a bleakly amusing look at someone who hasn’t matured enough to accept the consequences of their own behavior. The repetition of the man’s selfish protests eventually reshapes into a definition of the root problem “there’s something wrong with my brain” which, at its core, is a hundred percent true. However, rather than being a disease or an outside factor that has caused his problems, the real cause of them is his own denial of responsibility. And THAT is what’s really wrong with his brain.
Banks Isn’t for Everyone, and It Shouldn’t Be
The Banks album is not a collection of happy songs, but instead is a callout to the introspective who were forced to grow up into a modern society with an education and moral guidance that was forty years out of date. For those unable to look into the theme of this work, the album is a collection of blase and uninteresting music,
while those who can only touch the edges of what it says are left with a deep sense of discomfort.
It’s very much a niche album, but it has a clear theme and a role in art that should be examined for what it is, not chided or dismissed for what it isn’t.