Photo: Imogen Wilson
BENEE is on her way to becoming a household name. The New Zealand indie pop sensation currently finds herself with a breakout hit in the form of "Supalonely," featuring Gus Dapperton, and is now climbing the charts.
The single, which quickly went viral on micro-video sharing platform TikTok, has to date racked up over 400 million total streams with shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. And today sees the deceivingly sun-soaked single, taken from her sophomore EP Stella & Steve, getting a beautifully stripped-down reimagining.
If the title wasn't any indication, "Suplalonely" is at its heart a melancholic track about the pitfalls of creeping loneliness and self-doubt. While some of that might have gotten lost in the myriad of dance routines and euphoric production, "Lownely" sees BENEE stripping down the song to its core.
"Lownely" finds the power in its minimalistic soundscape. Outside of faint key presses and the traces of a reverberant guitar somewhere off in the distance, the only constant accompaniment is BENEE's heart-rending lyrics. The once sardonic "I'm a lonely bitch" takes on a palpable self-crucifying weight.
Yet, while "Lownely" is without a question a more somber meditation on a teenager's ensuing loneliness, BENEE maintains the dreamlike atmosphere that makes her such an enticing pop star for the next generation. BENEE spoke further on the decision to strip down "Supalonely," sharing,
"I decided that I wanted to show a different side to the song seeing as when I wrote it, I was actually at a pretty low point. I wanted to fully commit to making a really sad song (.: My guitar player Tiare came up with the guitar parts, which I loved! I wanted to create a slow, sad indie vibe, and she did a really awesome job of this! We ended up getting it mixed by Dilip Harris in the UK, who does a lot of work for King Krule (who I love). I thought he would really complement the style of the song."
Recorded with producer Josh Fountain the night New Zealand went into COVID-19 lockdown, "Lownely" is as much an encapsulation of one teenager's loneliness as it is a shared global loneliness.
Listen to "Lownely" below: