Hey u x by BENEE album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions

Republic Records

8

BENEE

Hey u x

The world has been getting smaller and smaller over the last couple decades but even with this being the case there are certain things that don’t always travel easily over borders. Take for example BENEE. The Auckland, New Zealand based artist has become a huge sensation back in her homeland and one that is poised to break out worldwide. While touring is on hold for the moment, BENEE and her latest album, Hey U X, may still be able to break through our borders and become a point of conversation at your breakfast table soon enough.

BENEE has already had over 2 billion streams worldwide and has been recognized at the New Zealand Music Awards with Single Of The Year, Best Solo Artist, Best Breakthrough Artist and Best Pop Artist. With the release of her latest pop masterpiece we should surely see her getting the same kind of recognition on this side of the world. The album is chock a block pop hits and filled with an array of star turns from such artists as Kenny Beats, Bakar, Lily Allen, Grimes, Gus Dapperton and so many more.

The record kicks off with “Happen To Me” and it’s tight breakbeat and arpeggiated guitar as BENEE’s vocal melody careens betweens the tracks open space. It’s striking in its simplicity and is immediately captivating. From here on the album seamlessly jumps between genres. While the setting of each song may seem different, BENNE’s voice remains wonderfully consistent. “Same Effect” floats along on her easy breezy vocal melody and an enchanting chorus drenched guitar line as a post chorus refrain. Worldwide sensation “Supalonely”, 2.1 billion streams and counting, picks up the pace slightly with BENEE’s staccato verse and an absolutely hooky bubbling synth line. “Snail” adds a slight electro edge to the proceedings with a sharp bass drum blast and wobbly keys and by the time we get to the ear worm of a chorus you should find yourself hooked. From here on out the record jumps between the consistent pace of “Plain” into “Kool”’s bubbling bass line and booming guitar bumps. The production across the board is lean and mean and creates a ton of space between each and every note that allows the songs the proper breathing room to be as effective as possible.

While BENEE may not be able to tour Hey X U at the moment it’s clear by the time that can happen she may just be the first big breakthrough pop sensation post COVID. As a writer she rides a fine line with being perfectly honest, with lyrics like in the chorus of “Supalonely”, “I know I fucked up, I’m just a loser/Shouldn’t be with ya, guess I’m a quitter/While you’re out there drinkin’, I’m just here thinkin’/’Bout where I should’ve been/I’ve been lonely, mmh, ah, yeah”, and hilariously catchy. BENEE is a talent to watch out for. This collection of songs is strong for sure but also shows hints of what she will be fully capable of once she is able to really spread her wings as an artist. We may have to wait a little while for it but world domination doesn’t seem entirely off the table.