Cover art for BENEE's debut album, Hey u x. - Photo via au.rollingstone.com

BENEE’s debut album “Hey U X” was released just last week. The 20-year-old New Zealand singer/song-writer’s album can be described as “patchwork” with an alt-pop edge as her songs are of different genres and styles. This album takes you on a journey of just how talented BENEE is.

“Hey U X” has a mix of sadder songs and more upbeat, summertime songs, like her previous hit single “Supalonely.” The album starts off with the song “Happen to Me” a melancholy, alt-pop song about BENEE’s struggles with anxiety, offering an opportunity for BENEE to connect more with her fans. Her other song that gives off a sad vibe is “Winter” featuring Mallrat. Taking cues from literary representations of winter as depression, cold, and death/endings, BENNE represents herself as a melancholy spirit, singing repeatedly throughout the song, “The winter suits me better.”

This is an upbeat, funky album, so it was exciting to hear BENEE with just a guitar, telling a story. “A Little While”, “If I Get to Meet You” and “C U” are those songs. They all tell a story that are personal and special to BENEE. Better yet, they really tie in with the album, even if the album has a little bit of everything. If you typically like to read the lyrics the first time you listen to a song, it would be recommended to read the lyrics to these songs especially.

Another aspect of the album that I like is how sassy it is in response to BENEE’s ex-relationships. “Sheesh” and “Plain” feel like songs that you put in a confidence-boosting playlist due to their breakup nature. The idea of internal struggles with conflicting emotions about relationships repeats throughout the album, but it’s so relatable for her fans.

Most of these songs were created over the lockdown, so I think the album can be relatable to those who’ve struggled with the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially “Snail” and “All the Time,” which were written at that time and allude to BENEE’s life and possibly in response to some of her other situations as mentioned throughout the album. “Snail” was written about snails when BENEE was fascinated with them during the lockdown. What’s cool about this song – in contrast with the rest of her album – is probably the most lighthearted and fun, which is what we need most right now. 

In all albums, there’s usually one or two “fun songs” that do not really tie in with the album. In this case, I think it’s necessary and even brings her and her fans closer to each other by sharing small details about her life.

Another song that deals with lockdown struggles is “All the Time.” Though it’s not directly blaming the lockdown for these behaviors, “All the Time” addresses substance abuse that has been a problem for many during this time. Her and Muroki, another New Zealand artist who features on the song, have a conversation while intoxicated about how they got to where they are.

Besides it’s relatable lyrics and catchy tunes, “Hey U X” gives us a peek inside of BENEE’s world. Having only heard “Supalonely” by BENEE, I was quite shocked to hear her create something like this – but it’s good. There’s no doubting that BENEE is versatile and extremely talented. I’m excited to see what she does in the future, and I would like to hear her reach even further and do more.

hough I think this album is good, I’m having a hard time finding the story in this album. Most of the songs tell a story, though, which is probably what BENEE was going for. To go even further, BENEE’s vision may have even been that each song is a story and that’s what the album’s story is.

In conclusion, “Hey U X” is a good album. If you fell in love with the song “Supalonely”, then you would like most of her songs on this album. 

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