Back in March, New Zealand singer/songwriter Benee gained international stardom when a dance to “Supalonely,” a single off of her 2019 EP “Stella & Steve,” went viral on Tiktok.
On November 13, the six-time New Zealand Music Award winner released her first album, “Hey u x.” This 44-minute set features 13 songs, including smash hit “Supalonely” and two new singles, “Snail” and “Night Garden” featuring Kenny Beats and Bakar.
Benee shows a sense of honesty and vulnerability in her songs “Happen to Me,” “Sheesh” and “Supalonely.” She opened the album with “Happen to Me,” which is a track that she utilized to describe a time in her life where she was at her lowest point battling depression and anxiety.
In both “Sheesh” and “Supalonely,” the singer/songwriter chronicles two-sides of one-sided relationships. In “Sheesh,” she describes a romantic partner seeking more attention from her than she felt she could give, while “Supalonely” describes the feeling of being left by a partner while the emotional attachment still lingers.
Benee came out with this album as a way to relate to her fans.
“I want [listeners] to feel as connected to [“Hey u x”] as possible,” Benee told “People” Magazine.” “That’s what I love about music, being able to feel every lyric and be like, ‘I’m not the only one.’”
Although the sentiment of the album portrays honest emotions, the sound is upbeat and is described by Benee herself as “super eclectic.” Utilizing electronic instruments and a rapid tone of voice, the entire album provides the listener with the perfect playlist to dance to.
One song that really made me want to get up and dance was “Sheesh.” This song has a base line of electronic bass and drum EDM. To make the tune more upbeat, Benee completely voiced herself over with autotune.
“I want Auto-Tune everywhere,” Benee told Apple Music. “I want to sound like a robot.”
“Sheesh” also featured Grimes, who sang the bridge and outro. Grimes’ higher pitched voice contrasted well with Benee, who typically has a deeper, more monotone sound.
Another really catchy song is “Snail.” By utilizing electronic instruments, Benee was able to produce a track that was upbeat and fun. A part of the song that caught my attention was the chorus: “I’m a snail, you’re a guy/ Kinda mad I can’t fly.”
Since the chorus was so unique and off the beaten path, the lyrics were unexpected. The surprising nature of that chorus is exactly what made this song stick out. It is what made me want to listen to it again and again.
The New Zealand native was not the only voice on the album however. It featured the singers Grimes (as mentioned before), Gus Dapperton, Lily Allen, Flo Milli, Mallrat, Kenny Beats, Bakar, and Mukori. They all helped ensure that the album was not repetitive. Since the sound of different songs catered not only to Benee’s voice, but those from a multitude of different genres – such as pop, rap and techno – it felt as though the album was not short of twists and turns.
In terms of these collaborations, “Plain” was very strong since the song featured both Lily Allen and Flo Milli. Allen and Benee contrasted very well due to the fact that they have similar sounds and both specialize in pop and alternative.
What sticks out about this track are the final three verses that featured Flo Milli. “Hey u x,” in all, stuck quite close to the techno, pop and alternative genres with the exclusion of Flo Milli’s verses. Since Flo Milli’s expertise is in rap, she was able to make “Plain” stand out from the other songs.
“Night Garden” featuring Bakar and Kenny Beats was also a strong collaboration. In an album that was upbeat and eclectic, “Night Garden” was slow and soulful, which adjusted perfectly to Bakar’s verse. These minor differences made “Night Garden” one of “Hey u x”’s major standouts.
Overall, Benee’s positive presence and brutal honesty in “Hey u x” accurately represents the turmoil and excitement that one faces in their late teenage years and into their twenties. As a college student, I feel as though Benee, as a 20-year-old, refreshingly represents the feelings faced by young adults transitioning into adulthood.