New Zealand-born singer-songwriter BENEE continues to re-invent herself in exhilarating ways on her new EP, Lychee.
One of the biggest questions on my mind after discovering the wonderfully magical music of New Zealand-born singer-songwriter BENEE was “Why is this girl not as popular as she should be?”. Sure, she had a smash hit song in the form of Supalonely thanks largely in part to it blowing up on TikTok, but her other songs are just as fantastic.
All one needs to do to get proof is to listen to her first two EPs – Fire on Marzz and Stella & Steve – as well as her debut studio album Hey u x and you’ll see her incredible musical talent. If you’re in the mood for a funky song about snails and why they’re great, you can check out her appropriately titled song Snail.
What about an introspective, emotionally layered song about your deepest, darkest fears? You can listen to Happen to Me. BENEE has a phenomenal talent for writing songs about anything she feels like, and you can rest assured that it’s almost always going to be great.
This is why I was beyond overjoyed to hear her brand new EP Lychee, which consists of seven alternative-pop tracks. So, how is it? Long story short – it’s fantastic. While it’s obviously not as intricate and engrossing as her full-length studio album Hey u x, Lychee is a remarkable collection of tracks that will remind you of the singer-songwriter’s talents.
The record opens up with Beach Boy, which is by far my favorite song on the album. It’s not emotionally deep like the aforementioned Happen to Me, but it doesn’t need to be. As mentioned earlier, something that’s so amazing about BENEE is how she writes songs about anything. What is this song about? It’s basically just about a guy she finds really attractive.
“We’re by the ocean, think we need a break / Maybe this ain’t it, but I still want this”, she sings on the track. This then transitions smoothly into Soft Side, which, as its title suggests, is a more laid-back song than some of the others on the album.
Here, she’s singing about how she wants to see the softer side of the guy she likes. Sure, tough guys can be attractive, but sometimes, vulnerability is a great thing to see just to remind you that we’re all human and we all have emotions. “I wanna see your soft side / But only when the time’s right / And it’s a shame you’re in the limelight / Makes it hard to catch your eyesight”, BENEE vocalizes.
Hurt You, Gus is a strange song because it features a beat that’s equal parts upbeat and groovy, while also being melancholy and laid-back. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to make me want to listen to it more and more just because of how striking it is.
Afterward, we’re led into Never Ending, one of the only songs on the album that I just couldn’t get into. It definitely feels like a BENEE song, but it also shows her going into a more electronic sound. I’m more than happy with her experimenting with her sound, but this song is proof that she still needs more time if she wants to delve deep into the electronic realm.
Thankfully, things pick right back up with Marry Myself which features a beat so groovy that you’ll find yourself tapping your feet along to it the whole way through. It’s also just an incredibly fun song about embracing yourself and loving yourself for who you are.
Doesn’t Matter is the penultimate song on the EP, which was definitely quite a pleasant surprise for me to see. BENEE released this track seemingly as a standalone release back in October of 2021, which just made me want to hear a new album from her even more. Now that I’ve heard all of Lychee, I can say that I like this song even more because of how smoothly it fits into this record as a whole.
The album closes with Make You Sick, a six-minute disco-pop alternative song that finds BENEE slowly closing the door on the EP. Although I can appreciate the song’s grand scale, it’s not one I’ll find myself listening to very often, mainly because of its lyrical content. It can be disappointingly repetitive to constantly hear BENEE sing “Bad bitch, I am a bad bitch / I’m a bad bitch, I’m a bad bitch / But you can’t have this / Cannot have this, no you can’t have this, this” over and over again.
But make no mistake about it – Lychee is an excellent album filled with remarkably memorable songs and serves as a reminder that BENEE is one of the best indie artists working today.