Over the last few months NYC based singer Liana Banks has erected a buzz which has been pretty hard to ignore. Utilising solely social media, the act has been able to cultivate an impressive following, regularly stacking up tens of thousands worth of streams. Now as the fourth quarter reaches its end, Liana cements her arrival with her debut mix-tape Insubordinate. But does the project excel?
Insubordinate begins in a rebellious nature. Aided by an edgy and punchy backing Liana begins on her first statement piece titled ‘Worth It‘. The sentiment throughout the first verse is one of going against the grain. “Do what you’re told Liana // Don’t break the mold Liana, follow the rules Liana”. It appears as though Liana’s peers didn’t believe in the vision or her recording career. Despite this the singer tells us “It was all worth it” across the chorus in a factual matter. Liana cements one thing here, her self-belief and confidence in her brand. It’s an assurance which quickly gains the listener’s attention.
After the anthemic pre-released singles; ‘LVLUP‘ and ‘Plead The Fifth‘, we reach ‘For You‘ and Liana starts stripping back and showing us different elements of herself. The catchy mid-tempo shows the singer demonstrating her love and care for her lover. “I’m only hurting me for you” she repeats throughout. The entrancing beat is fitting as the song is one of addiction and suppression. It’s great to hear so early on that Liana isn’t afraid of bearing it all, and also has solid penmanship, it’s impressive from such a new talent.
An interesting component thus far on the EP is Liana’s voice, both majestic but raw and emotive, the artist manages to marriage all elements to embody the Big Apple and all of its feels. A track which demonstrates this well is ‘Truce‘. Again presented as a mid-tempo, Banks is strong and demanding. “Ain’t nothing to prove, let’s call a truce” she tells her lover as she assesses the wider picture and makes it known that she doesn’t want to fight. The track serves as a great fall/winter number as it’s a cold narrative on relationship drama’s.
The excitement at this point is brought back to Insubordinate as Liana channels her aggressive side on ‘Eat‘. “Dinner’s on the table what you waiting for?”. The NY act asks over loud and melodic production. “What’s the matter papi no English // well I can speak in more than one language”. Liana truly engages the listener here with her punch lines and unapologetic demeanour. The playful number again proves that Liana is unstoppable in pulling out all the stops to demonstrate her dynamic appeal. The track itself is reminiscent of a Rihanna number, just because of the attitude and bluntness, however Liana is by no means copying anyone here, she’s her own force of nature and has thus far proved that.
One of the only duets of the set comes in the final track ‘No Feelings‘. The cold and tunnel visioned New York Native returns and is carefree when it comes to outer-perceptions. “They tried their best they can’t get to me // They don’t faze me that’s his-to-ry”. Liana blocks out any and everyone that doesn’t add value. The slow paced and bass heavy soundscape is great and puts the listener in a focused mindset. The feature – J. Payso of Foursix adds a short but interesting addition, sounding in places like Travis Scott, as he reiterates Liana’s “No feelings” rhetoric. A solid and empowering end to Insubordinate.
Insubordinate is a personal set and is clearly Liana’s rude awakening. The sleeping giant has been disrupted and now that Liana’s awake, she refuses to let up. Offering multiple facets to her character, the singer gives Insubordinate one hundred percent and shows to the masses that she want’s her place in Pop/R&B more than ever. One things for sure, the blogs are listening, and interest is increasing by the day. If Liana continues to break through, both in her home region of NY and across the states, it won’t be long before her names in lights.
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