Banks Contaminated

‘Contaminated’: BANKS Is Addicted to the Agony

BANKS’ latest is a tortured triumph.

BANKS is back, and just as brooding as ever.

She’s been back for a while, actually: she returned with her jagged, fierce “Gimme” at the end of April (it’s great), followed by “Look What You’re Doing To Me” with Francis & The Lights. (Life happened – life’s been happening – and I failed to write about it then, but here we are.)

“Contaminated,” released on Wednesday (July 10), is the third offering from her upcoming album III, out on Friday (July 12). It’s about Jaclyn Hill‘s lipsticks.

Just kidding. Sorry. I’m awful.

III is described in a press release as “coming after a self-imposed period of quiet and reflection,” which “explores themes of self-acceptance, letting go, forgiveness, and deep love” – so, you know, she’s going through it, too.

The song was recorded in Los Angeles with BJ Burton, known for work with artists like Bon Iver, but interestingly, also credited as a programmer on Miley‘s “The Most” from She Is Coming.

BANKS’ music is the epitome of a late night listen, and “Contaminated” is no exception: a summer bop, this is not. (Or maybe it is for you, fellow emos.)

Instead, it’s just the kind of gorgeous, downtempo darkness I’d expect to hear from BANKS, reminiscent of some of her past work. It’s all sorts of tortured – as anyone going through the motions of a relationship gone rotten can attest to – drifting along a haunting piano melody, dooming synths, prickly beats and eerie, layered vocals.

“‘Contaminated’ is about being addicted to a toxic relationship. The more you give, the less of yourself you become,” BANKS explains.

I wish I could change it / And we’re always gonna be contaminated,” she moans along the moody track.

The third verse especially hits hard:

You said they’d be against us
I say, “You care too much what they say”
You said, “Do me a favor, give me some faith”
‘Cause you promised me you’d do it
You said, “Baby, let me prove it, look at me in the face
This is the face of someone who loves you, babe.”


BANKS does agony well, and “Contaminated” is certainly no exception. Here’s to kicking the habit once and for all.

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Photo credit: Harvest / Steph Wilson

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