Listeners searching for a lyrical mixture of broken glass, love letters and unabated yet confused confidence have come to the right place. BENEE’s recent release of “Hey u x” flips through the full spectrum of emotions as quickly as the sun sets, leaving nothing to be desired by any stretch of the imagination. This musical feat of indie-pop bliss was created by a 2020 breakout artist who gained massive recognition through her devoted following and the social media powerhouse TikTok. “Hey u x” is her longest album thus far, but BENEE has been on the road long before this much-awaited release. She has traversed the U.S. with fellow indie-pop breakout Conan Gray, sold out shows in countless cities across the world and won awards for her early releases all the while. This recent album has proven to be the culmination of her early success and raw musical aptitude for conveying a mind-bending array of emotions. It’s not hard to lose yourself in a deep dive of this alluringly melodic and eclectic tracklist.
“Hey u x” first draws listeners in with a soft, hypnotic ballad about the consciousness of death and the inevitability of people moving on. “Happen To Me” evokes the otherworldly distress of a sleepless night, expressing the unreal feeling of having waking thoughts at 3 a.m. This song smoothly drifts into “Same Effect,” which sports an idealistic pop beat and painfully longing lyrics. It is lyricized codependence at its cutest. The album takes a jarring turn at “Sheesh,” featuring the dark princess of electro-pop herself, Grimes. BENEE and Grimes collaborate to forget about the desperate pain of the last few tracks in a burst of unbothered self-righteousness.
More to the point of impressive feature tracks, Lily Allen and Flo Milli hop on “Plain” to create the power trio listeners never guessed would happen but always deserved. This song is the epitome of boss women taking on the time-honored diss track of a desired lover’s less-than girlfriend — Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” would weep with pride. Flo Milli raps through glittering, confidence-tinted lip gloss on “Plain,” becoming the embodiment of unbothered. “All The Time” features mystery artist Muroki, who proves to be a powerhouse of up-and-coming energy reminiscent of Michael Kiwanuka. BENEE also welcomes fellow recently-acclaimed artists Kenny Beats and Bakar onto another fiery feature track called “Night Garden.” Bakar’s contribution is wildly apparent, adding a significant amount of vocal flare to the track, while Kenny Beats creates a fitting production of eerie drum samples.
The album takes a turn in the name of skater-boy obsession with “Kool,” fawning over the idea of detached dudes in explosive segments of guitar-driven punk rock. “Winter” marks a transition to a MARINA-esque track that could easily secure a top spot on her 2012 album “Electra Heart.” This crashing wave of seductive sadness is continued in “A Little While” and “C U.” The latter song is a dreamy, vast soundscape of echoes and angelic falsetto, espousing layered vocals listeners could get lost in.
“Hey u x” has undoubtedly solidified BENEE’s steadily growing appearance in the musical universe of indie pop. However, it’s clear that she’s not afraid to pull from different genres and aesthetics to create a varied album of lush feeling, sound and lyrics. Her pension for collaborating with complimentary artists adds yet another creative dimension to her work, urging listeners to lean in and wait for her next diverse project. Overall, “Hey u x” invites fans to listen both in its title and advanced sonic execution.