Disbelief. Anger. Retrospective. Pain. Acceptance. The 5 stages of grief that humans eventually come to know first hand and since 2019, we’ve been collectively slammed with the realization of life’s impermanence. “We buried two important people in our family the same week. My father, Clifton “Bubba” Banks, and my nephew, Nicholas Gilmore Jr., who was more like a son to me. My father lost his long time battle with cancer and Nicholas passed away in his sleep due to a seizure. He was epileptic in his younger years. For some unknown reason, I find it hard to express what I’m feeling. I’ve found writing to be a way to get it out, even if it’s only a temporary “fix”. Life Goes On was taken from what I wrote in my diary after I lost my loved ones,” shares Lewis Banks from Rochester, New York, while we’re shaken to the core.
Life Goes On by Lewis Banks captures the zeitgeist of the past two years and simultaneously arrests the public’s attention via its authentic R&B sounds proving that a genre is for the artist to decide its direction and purpose. A song that you didn’t know you needed.
If you were awaiting a sonically draining intro as the song title stipulates melancholy, you were fortunately wrong. Lewis Banks recounts how the jovial sonic divulgence impacted someone else very close to him: “One of my brothers, Theron “Semaj” James, said “ Don’t you think this music is a little too… happy for these words?“ My response to him was:“ if that’s what you took from it, I believe my goal was met”.” Now you can stop feeling guilty for judging Lewis because Theron did it before you did and the artist was intentional in creating an uplifting mood out right off the bat.
The piano, electro-synth, and organ dash off with light acoustic splendor shocking the listener into grasping the uplifting instruments. “Seems like every night I’m awake/ And I’m spending time every day/ I’m wishing that/ (This was all just a dream)/ It’s hard to accept it but/ (I know that life must go on),” sings Lewis Banks in a warm, musical tone of deliverance. The laudable back-and-forth between the supporting vocals and lead track is smoothly executed and pleasing to the senses. Ever heard of butter for the ears? Us neither. It came to mind while listening to Life Goes On.
“It just don’t seem fair/ As I compare/ Right now to how my life once was/ My life has changed since you have gone away/ A sudden storm came through my sunny day/ I hope these last words to you/ Land like a kiss upon your face,” reverberates with sheer emotion and exceptional vocal control the R&B singer. The lyrics are simple yet land with grand emotion thus sublimely maintaining the gravity of the matter. And his falsetto… an absolute five-star rating. Whoever can sustain those considerably elongated sounds (heard in “kiss upon your face”) is worthy of applause.
Evidently ahead of his time, Lewis Banks then displays with perfect ease his fine skill of transitioning a verse into a hook: “I gotta’ let you you know that I love you (Life goes on)/ Please take those three words with you/ As my life goes on/ Life won’t be the same/ Knowing you cannot answer/ When I call your name/ Oh! before you go please know I love you.” Just as one wouldn’t expect R&B to be used as a coping foundation, you wouldn’t expect the singer to elevate his singing prowess on the hook to an even higher extent than on the verse. Especially since the last words of verse one ended in a slower breath. It fools you into thinking you’ve just about heard Lewis’s vocal range but boy oh boy, weren’t we all wrong.
The memorable hook is followed by the astounding bridge of Life Goes On: “As each day of my life passes by/ I’ll take you, with me, each day/ Just as long as I’m living above ground/ The love I have for you/ Will never fade away.” Holy wow!!! Lewis never broke the pitch sequence or his pipes. Just when it seemed that he’s about to fall off the vocal edge his chords impose on the performance, he didn’t. The artist kept the best for last. We’re sure the father and nephew would be smiling now as you too are discovering how talented their Lewis is.
As this is as much a review for the soul for everyone reading as it is a coping record for Lewis Banks, we asked the artist if there’s anyone special he’d like to mention: “My mom, Daisy Banks. She’s suffered so much this year having lost her husband of 49 years. It would have been their 50th anniversary this April. And of course, my niece, Diane Williams, who lost Nicholas to epilepsy. Seeing them still take care of others while experiencing heartbreak is awe-inspiring.”
A principled artist with a tremendous talent shifting and altering the emotions associated with the R&B genre. That’s Lewis Banks for you.
Song Credits: Lewis Banks – Singer, Songwriter, Music Producer; Kenneth Alexander Diggs II (Kay Bass) – Bass Player; Roy Battle (K33lanmusic) – Sound Engineer.
Written by Mariana Berdianu
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