BANKS Explores Love vs. Success with Aching & Poetic “Crowded Places”

BANKS "The Altar" © 2016
BANKS "The Altar" © 2016

Timing is a funny thing. You could be reaching for a goal your whole life never actually knowing if you’ll achieve it – and then one day everything can change. You may get a job offer that moves you across the country. You could get a part in a movie that changes your life. The point is, circumstances can change in an instance, and whether you’re in love or not, they can throw everything off the tracks. In BANKS’ case, it was the timing of her rise to success that threw her romantic life off course – for better or for worse. “Crowded Places” is hopefully romantic, diving into what it’s like to fall in and out of love while achieving your dreams.

“Crowded Places” – BANKS


Crowded Places - BANKS
Crowded Places – BANKS

The song starts slowly and peacefully with a hopeful and happy hue. BANKS softly sings “Hey, Hey, Hey,” welcoming you into the song accompanied by low and long piano chords before she starts the first verse,

I wanna get you in my spaces
I wanna take you different places
I know the touring is romantic
I know you see me as a frantic girl
But I can give you what you want
I know you like the way I held my temper
When I gave you to the world, gave you to the world
I can be your heart to let go

The first verse makes it clear that she misses someone dearly. The lyric “When I gave you to the world,” so uniquely and eloquently reveals that BANKS had to let go of someone she loved even though it wasn’t something she necessarily wanted to do. It feels like this song is a way for her to express what she’s going through and how she feels now, in a way she wasn’t able to in the past. BANKS softly transitions to the ear catching, yet peaceful melody of the chorus,

‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
Come with me, I’ll take you home
‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
Come with me, I’ll take you home

The chorus is her coming to the realization that maybe giving him up wasn’t the right choice. She’s letting her guard down and admitting to herself that she made a mistake. The tone of her voice is soft and subtle, yet it has an extreme power to it as well. The second verse picks up with a slow beat, just enough to entrance us a bit more into the song,

I know I messed with your head
It was just when I left you
When I was just blowing up when I said
Remember when I loved you right before that tour?
You said you didn’t wanna see me anymore
And then when I got home, when I played that show in L.A
All your shit was gone
It was the only time I thought I’d made a mistake
And when I only wanna hold you
I thought I wanted you to hold me
BANKS "The Altar" © 2016
BANKS © Harvest Records

The second verse is the most telling part of the song. It slowly comes into focus revealing that BANKS chose to focus on her rising career rather than the person she loved. Maybe this person couldn’t accept her new life, or maybe the timing was just off. The point is – they didn’t break up because they wanted to; they broke up because they felt they had to, and that is what brings so much emotion and sadness to the echoing song. The chorus comes back into play bringing new meaning as it follows this revealing second verse.

‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
Come with me, I’ll take you home
‘Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places
Come with me, I’ll take you home

All of the crowds and chaos that have come along with this rising fame only make her realize more that she misses him. It’s like he makes her feel comfort. He makes her feel like home, and going into these crowded places without him is overwhelming. The third verse is the final plea for him to hear this song and possibly gain a new perspective on what she’s going through.

It falls to death so talk with me
This life, what if it’s you and me?
Don’t know, oh no
Maybe that means we’ll fall from grace
It’d be OK, I’d have your face with me
You’ll see, you’ll see, you’ll see, you’ll see

BANKS’ voice is soft and sweet with delicate melodies interjected throughout to emphasize each lyric ever so slightly. The third verse is her way of saying; if I lose all of this, but still have you I would be ok – would you? It’s as if she’s inviting us into her love letter. After the third verse ends BANKS closes out the song repeating the lyrics “’Cause I’ve been scared of crowded places” over and over again, followed by those same “Hey, Hey, Hey’s” that welcomed us in.

Musicians and songwriters always try to be as honest as possible in their music – that’s why music is what it is and means what it means. However, getting such a raw and honest narrative as BANKS gives us in “Crowded Places” can be tough to find. She is truly letting the listeners into her deepest truest thoughts. There’s no neat and tidy bow to the end of the story, no silver lining of resolution, just her – telling her story of regret and hope all at the same time.

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Crowded Places - BANKS

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cover © Harvest Records

Arriving at 'The Altar' with BANKS: A Track-by-Track Review

by Regan Wojick

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