BENEE Captures Sentiments Surrounding the Pandemic with ‘Hey u x’

20-year-old Stella Rose Bennett, who goes by the stage name BENEE released her debut album titled 'Hey u x' on Friday, Nov. 13. Photo courtesy of Kristina Valdez.

Photo By Kristina Valdez

20-year-old Stella Rose Bennett, who goes by the stage name BENEE released her debut album titled ‘Hey u x’ on Friday, Nov. 13. Photo courtesy of Kristina Valdez.

By Amy Simon, Reporter

Following her hit single Supalonely, featuring Gus Dapperton, 20-year-old Stella Rose Bennett, who goes by the stage name BENEE, released her debut album, Hey u x on Friday, Nov. 13.

BENEE’s nonchalant personality, similar to Billie Eilish and Lorde, makes her unique in the electronic and alternative pop genre. The album, featuring 13 songs, leaves listeners feeling broken and unorthodox.

The album incorporates many genres and covers a plethora of moods that subsequently build on each other. BENEE sings of isolation and loneliness, as well as a desire to maintain and form close relationships, kindred to the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in lockdowns around the world. This is what made BENEE’s Supalonely, a killer hit. The song adresses loneliness in a fun and quirky manner, allowing listeners to relate, but also feel joy in their music.

The album opens up with Happen To Me, a song that displays an upbeat tempo and explores the anxiety of overthinking. The melancholy verses matched with energetic instruments has become BENEE’s forte and is seen throughout the album.

Following Happen To Me is Same Effect. The enigmatic lyrics and the soft strum of the guitar shows a sense of delicacy and allows the audience to hear BENEE’s raw emotions. Instead of focusing on the emptiness that comes with solitude, Same Effect narrates the sheer fear of being forgotten by the people you love the most.

Next is Sheesh, an electro-pop collaboration with Canadian musician Grimes. Both musicians brilliantly executed the use of voice modification, making the song an excellent choice in the clubbing category. The versatility of this album, and BENEE’s style altogether is featured on this track, and shows how she is able to conquer any genre effortlessly.

Snail stands out from the rest of the album. The minimalist bop reveals BENEE’s love for gastropods with lyrics conveying a lockdown daydream. The song features electronic sounds reminiscent of old video games and ‘90s disco. BENEE’s ability to pull off a song surrounding something so irregular proves that she is a phenomenal songwriter.

Aside from Snail, I also enjoyed listening to Night Garden, a collaboration with record producer Kenny Beats and British singer Bakar. With a blend of pop and hip-hop, this song creates a sense of paranoia that’s simultaneously disturbing and perturbing. BENEE sings, “A man is out there in the trees, Think that’s the reason I can’t sleep, I see him lurking in my dreams,” exploring the anxiety of being lost. 

The final song on this album is C U, a simplistic and evocative ballad showcasing the tenderness of BENEE’s voice. The song describes herself facing reality and bidding her lover goodbye knowing how pleasant their time together was. Her final lyrics, “I’ll see you, I’ll catch you ’round, I’ll see you, I have to be somewhere else” is the ideal way to bring the album to a close.

“I’m at a beach house with someone who I am really getting along well with, and then I have to go because reality calls, I have to work,” BENEE said in a statement for Apple Music describing the song. “And as much as I’d like to stay and live on the beach for the rest of my life and just be one with the bloody earth and not have to worry about anything else, I also have to work.”

Overall, BENEE’s ability to not constrain herself to one genre is impressive, but lacks organizational skills. The randomness of genres throughout the album gives off an impression that the album was released prematurely. Though Hey u x may be versatile and show BENEE’s ambitions towards her music, listening to the entire album in one sitting can be overwhelming. However, I did enjoy listening to the lyrics of these songs. BENEE has a way of manipulating appalling topics into lighthearted songs, perfect for relieving stress during times of anxiety and stress. This album shows that BENEE isn’t just a one-hit-wonder, but instead a magnificent singer and songwriter with creative tricks aplenty up her sleeve.

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