Benee’s ‘Lychee’ is an eclectic pop explosion
Still riding the waves of success from his hit ‘Supalonely’ and 2020 album Hey uxStella Rose Bennett, also known as pop star Benee, has a brand new project – one that will leave fans gasping for air. Litchi is dreamy and diverse, ranging from upbeat, bubbly pop to dark, lo-fi trap. Its unique synthetic sound vibrates through the EP’s wavelengths with every twist.
“This music was inspired by the thoughts that are still ringing in my brain,” the 22-year-old New Zealand singer wrote in a letter to her listeners, with the descriptor “jangling” perfectly summing up the stimulating flow of Litchi. The record kicks off with the light and airy “Beach Boy”, a playful summer song full of nostalgia that manages to be subdued and energetic at the same time. The catchy drum loop propels the song forward as its smooth vocals draw the audience in, providing an escape into another, more whimsical world for three riveting minutes.
Benee refers to the opening track as “LA summer fantasy,” setting the tone for the rest of the album, which unfolds from the brave sunshine of “Beach Boy” and dives into seduction with “Soft Side.” Co-written by Kenny Beats, whose past collaborations include artists such as Dominic Fike and Vince Staples, this song is a glimpse not of Benee’s “Soft Side”, but of his darker, more trapper persona. However, its familiar lo-fi sweetness isn’t lost on the intense drum loops and synthetic vocals typically found in the trap soundscape; instead, Benee completely breaks down the genres.
She reshapes conventions throughout the album, layering softness with pulsating electricity. Cohesion is an area in which Benee excels; despite the variety of genres she dips her toes into, the singer infuses every song on Litchi with a similar serene, dreamy quality unique to his own voice.
These dreamy undertones pair well with glimpses of emotional vulnerability featured in faith-based songs such as “Hurt You, Gus” and “Doesn’t Matter.” This last track particularly stands out as Benee candidly opens up about his struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, wondering “What’s it like / Not having to think about it?” Her delicate, soft crooning matches the vulnerability to her fears, echoed again in the song’s title as she ponders her insecurities about others’ perceptions.
Although often disguised as autotune, Benee’s voice is raspy and magnetic, with an underlying attitude that compels his audience to listen. This is especially important on tracks like “Marry Myself,” a light, funky beat with vocals that lend a more serious tone to an otherwise fun, mellow song. If the album has any weak points, they lie in the lyrics, which are at times lackluster and borderline tasteless – but quickly forgiven by its offbeat production.
This production culminates in the record’s seventh and final song, “Make You Sick”, a dazzling feat of experimental electronics that spans almost seven minutes – the aural equivalent of a vibrant and vibrant light show. colored. Originally composed for a fashion show, the song’s repeated chorus “I’m a bad bitch” ignites a flame of confidence that belongs in a runway; indeed, it’s not hard to imagine a selection of models decked out in the artful madness of high fashion strutting to the eccentric maximalist beat of the runway. A track that instantly stands out on the album, “Make You Sick” is the perfect grand finale, ending not with a single hit, but rather with synthetic musical fireworks.
Commonly grown in subtropical areas, lychee is a small, round fruit with a fragrant interior, a large pit, and a thin, rough skin. Benee’s record touches on all aspects of the fruit – its tender sweetness, heady intimacy and imperfect vulnerability, all working together to create an alluring collection brimming with fresh, unique flavor.
Contact Vivian Stacy at [email protected].