Illustration for article titled Benee Explained, for Ya Old Ass

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Welcome to “…for Ya Outdated Ass,” an occasional sequence through which Jezebel endeavors to grasp issues that very younger folks like. On this version, we find out about Benee.

A couple of months in the past, one thing astonishing occurred. I used to be attempting to make sense of the TikTok algorithm, as I achieve this sometimes (and at all times find yourself forfeiting), after I first heard Benee. It was the track “Supalonely,” itself not unprecedented however definitely joyful-sounding in a approach I like—performed over one more dance choreography video. I ended to do a little analysis. After which I felt previous, as a result of judging by her inventive aesthetic and efficiency wardrobe, she is the mall goth to Billie Eilish’s ’90s-goth, a friendlier teen expertise with a capability to show angst right into a scrumptious hook and an ironic celebration. After which I felt like a dinosaur, as a result of certainly the world isn’t already post-Eilish, and certainly I’m higher than all of the surly rock critics who got here earlier than me and lazily in contrast all musicians who occurred to be ladies to at least one one other. ( the kind who contemplate gender to be a style when style isn’t even a style anymore.) It’s like, get with the instances! And so I did. Right here’s Benee, for ya previous ass.


Benee (pronounced like “Benny”) was born Stella Rose Bennett, in Auckland, New Zealand on January 30, 2000, which makes her 20 years previous. She debuted in 2017 beneath the spelling “Bene,” with a forgettable tune referred to as “Powerful Man,” after which in 2018, “Soaked,” which did properly in her native nation however failed to depart an enduring mark abroad. The previous sounds slightly like Lily Allen, which is sensible as a result of she opened for Allen on her 2019 No Disgrace Tour. Benee has two EPs beneath her belt: 2018’s Hearth on Marzz and 2019’s Stella & Steve, the latter of which options the aforementioned “Supalonely,” the track that made her viral profession. Despite the fact that she took house 4 awards on the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards—Finest Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist of the Yr, Finest Pop Artist, and Single of the Yr for “Soaked,” which went platinum within the nation)—her actual worldwide break got here from TikTok, which, I assume, is how all hits are made today.


The most important pop hits and tendencies are inclined to emerge from TikTok. As soon as an simply repeated and mimicked dance—partnered with an undeniably catch tune—goes viral, folks develop into curious in regards to the track behind the strikes. (I additionally think about you could develop to like a track if it’s a must to hearken to it on repeat to recreate the TikTok your self), which is a straightforward method to be taught to like one thing. So far as I’m involved, “Supalonely,” which options American artist Gus Dapperton, is a bop not not like Doja Cat’s retro curler rink tune “Say So,” one other disco-lite track of the summer time that exploded as soon as it made the rotations on TikTok.

Additionally, apparently the primary track Benee remembers listening to is Björk’s “It’s Oh So Quiet,” as a result of her dad and mom are in all probability impossibly cool, in line with New Zealand publication RNZ. I wouldn’t give them credit score for her effortlessly dope ’70s R&B sound, however I couldn’t think about listening to Bjork at 9 and having it depart an imprint. That’s admirable. Most of us can solely dream of being so precocious.


I do know, I do know. It’s complicated. However mainly a teen in New Zealand uploaded some songs to SoundCloud, caught the eye of a supervisor, blew up in her homeland, after which discovered worldwide success as soon as TikTok made “Supalonely” the soundtrack to a viral dance. She signed to main label Republic Information within the U.S., and it’s straightforward to see why: “Supalonely” opens with Benee singing, “I do know I fucked up/I’m only a loser,” and what’s extra common than an effervescent, self-deprecating pop track about an unfulfilling relationship?


Effectively, to repeat, I feel the track is charming and delightfully ironic, as a lot Gen Z humor seems to be. She’s leaning into the “unhappy lady after a breakup,” trope, whereas additionally poking enjoyable at it with playful criticism. “Typically while you’re unhappy you’re identical to, ugh, recover from it! I feel after I hearken to music like ‘Supalonely’ the place it’s making enjoyable of the sensation of being unhappy, in a approach it type of makes me really feel good in a really bizarre approach,” Benee advised i-D. “After I hear ‘Supalonely’ now and after I carry out it I really feel pleased.” Is it essentially the most revelatory thought? No, however it certain is efficient… to the purpose the place it hit No. 39 on Billboard’s Sizzling 100 chart. For a teen whose music was obscure even two years prior, that’s spectacular.

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Like all editions of this sequence, I don’t actually know nor do I care. I think about that in case you fancy your self as somebody who likes to maintain up-to-date with all that’s occurring on the planet of music, artwork, tradition, and expertise, you’d profit from this data. I merely suppose Benee makes enjoyable music, and I want I had an natural understanding of her as a substitute of 1 that required a deep-dive. At any charge, I’m nearer to loss of life than her age, so there’s in all probability a motive for that. Completely satisfied listening, and ensure to brag to your nieces and nephews that you already know all about her now.

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