BANKS' Cover of Aaliyah's 'Are You That Somebody' Is Heavenly

Los Angeles singer unplugged a SXSW highlight at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge

BANKS Photo courtesy of IAMSOUND Records
Philip Sherburne WRITTEN BY
Philip Sherburne

One of the highlights of BANKS' Hype Hotel set at SXSW last week was a sublime cover of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody," correctly identified by our own Jem Aswad as "Timbaland's greatest gift to the world." ("Like an R&B Singin' in the Rain, wrote Charles Aaron when we dubbed it one of SPIN's Top 20 Singles of the '90s, back in 1999.)

Yesterday, the Los Angeles singer pulled up a stool in BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge and knocked out a heavenly cover of the song. There are no D-Train samples in BANKS' unplugged version, of course, but the scratchy, closed-string strumming of her performance does a great job of approximating Timbaland's patented stutter-step, and her quivering, whispering voice is like desire incarnate.

For a taste of BANKS' midnight-hued electronic side, check the recently-released video for her Shlohmo-produced song "Brain," and stay tuned for her forthcoming debut album, due in August. 

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