Released: 2022″Holding Back” by BANKS is a heart-rending confession of an intense, flawed love, a tense dance on the tightrope of remorse and relentless longing. The song cleverly traverses the battleground of a turbulent relationship, ego struggles, and the regret of causing pain to a loved one, highlighting the painful realization that one’s love could be the very thing pulling their partner back.
In the opening verse, BANKS confesses to causing hurt – “I know I’ve done you wrong”. The phrase “Did I say too much?” signals an internal struggle with openness and vulnerability. By admitting fault, she exhibits a deep sense of self-awareness and maturity—a cornerstone of hip-hop’s ethos.
The chorus, “Love is holdin’ back”, delves into the paradox of love—its power to heal and to wound. Caught in this dichotomy, BANKS remains in “mourning,” dealing with the aftermath of her behavior. But despite her mourning, she longs for a morning meet — a symbolism for healing and a fresh start.
Verses like “You know I push it ’cause I go too far”/ “Somethin’ ’bout what you said in the morning” express self-awareness of her volatile behavior, and the regret she feels. The phrase “While you walkin’ free/ I stay in the middle unaccompanied,” depicts her feeling caught in an emotional limbo while her lover can move freely.
“I remember when you locked us out” verse tells a story of a shared past, a moment of shared strength in the face of difficulty that has kept her holding onto the relationship. Her confession, “Words are never bitter ’cause your voice so sweet” throws light on the depth of her affection despite the adversity.
The bridge, “Not every conversation is a new grenade” uncovers the apprehension in communication within the relationship; her longing to diffuse the tension that has become a new norm for them.
In the outro, the lines “I want you more than all time… than moonlight, than sunshine”, demonstrate a desperation in her longing, more potent than elemental forces. Her pleading repetition of “I want you”, and “Give me love” reveals a raw and vulnerable side to the typically assertive BANKS seen in other tracks.
The complexity of navigating emotions in a relationship is a common theme in hip-hop and R&B, and BANKS’ “Holding Back” plunges into the very core of this narrative. It’s a solemn hymn of regret, longing, and the elephant in the room—miscommunication, all under the aegis of the overpowering nature of love.