To the Hilt (song)

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"To the Hilt"
Banks - To the Hilt.png
Single by Banks
from the album The Altar
ReleasedSeptember 16, 2016 (2016-09-16)
Label Harvest
Producer(s) Sohn
Banks singles chronology
"Mind Games"
"To the Hilt"
"Crowded Places"

"To the Hilt" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Banks for her second studio album, The Altar (2016). It was released as the album's fourth single on September 16, 2016. The song was written by Banks and Sohn and produced by Sohn. [1]



When I was writing it, I was like I don’t want to fucking say this stuff [...] I got sick when I wrote it, like, my body wasn’t even ready to confront it, and I got physically sick.

–Banks on "To The Hilt". [2]

"To the Hilt" was written by Banks and Sohn and produced by Sohn. The song is a ballad lasts for a duration of 4:36. [3] [1] The song's instrumentation comes from piano and strings. [3] Sputnikmusic labeled it as "the mirrored reflection of the way she opened the album". [4] Lyrically, "To the Hilt" talks about a former lover and a devastating reflection on love lost. [5] [6] Karen Gwee of Consequence of Sound thought that its lyrical content "is a little more transparent and clumsily". The song begins with a "somber orchestral" piano opening, followed by the lines "Oh, it seems a long time ago/ Oh, we didn't know/ Before we had seen anything/ We believed in everything" sung by Banks. [7] [8] During the chorus, she sings, "Hated you for leavin' me/ You were my muse for so long/ Now I'm drained creatively/ I miss you on my team". [8]

Critical reception

Carl Williott of Idolator said that "it's just a piano and her voice, a far cry from her gloomy, Weeknd-influenced take on popR&B. Near the end, some spectral elements briefly augment the arrangement, but this one's all about the delicate emotions at play." [9] Katherine St. Asaph of Pitchfork described the song as "a straightforward piano-and-strings ballad". [3] Andrew Paschal of PopMatters said that "the song is a devastating reflection on love lost, long after the anger has subsided, and she is left with only an empty space and some memories. Banks quivers over every line, in total communion with her melancholic piano", adding that "the song is her "This Woman's Work", and its presence does a lot to help the album." [6] Sputnikmusic noted that "[To the Hilt] provides a polar opposite to "Gemini Feed." The blood-soaked laundry list of what went wrong is only comforting for so long, and it does little to replace what has evaporated by the time loss sets in. Flanked by nothing more than a minimalist piano". [4]

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Tidal. [10]

Release history

VariousSeptember 16, 2016 Harvest [11]

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  1. 1 2 "To the Hilt – Single by Banks". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  2. Aroesti, Rachel (September 29, 2016). "Banks: 'As a woman, you have to learn how to be a boss'". The Guardian . Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 St. Asaph, Katherine (October 12, 2016). "Banks: The Altar". Pitchfork . Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  4. 1 2 "Banks – The Altar". Sputnikmusic. September 30, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  5. Gwee, Karen (October 3, 2016). "Banks – The Altar". Consequence of Sound . Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  6. 1 2 Paschal, Andrew (October 5, 2016). "Banks: The Altar". PopMatters . Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  7. "BANKS - To the Hilt Lyrics". Genius . Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  8. 1 2 "Banks Releases New Track: 'To The Hilt'". Universal Music Canada . September 28, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  9. Williott, Carl (September 16, 2016). "BANKS Strips Things Back On 'To The Hilt': Listen". Idolator . Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  10. "To the Hilt / Banks TIDAL". Tidal. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  11. "To the Hilt - Single by Banks on Apple Music". iTunes Store (United States). September 16, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2019.