About the song “Here It Comes” from the new album “Music” by Benny Sings (Tim van Berkestijn), the Dutch artist says: “The lyrics are about me as a young boy, living on the streets in Dordrecht with my skate crew, and feeling life presenting itself, and feeling excited about it. A time full of hope and bravado.” It could also be the thread for this whole album which brims over with optimism and bravery. Just over two years after his brilliant “City Pop” album, which received a five-paw rating from Gina, Benny Sings is back with his eighth album overall and it is, yet again, a pop masterpiece. 10 short tracks, 34 minutes, put together on vinyl, making this one of the first highlights of the 2021 release year.
The songs are easy, sunny, full of sophistication, little snippets in the arrangements which you’ll realize after a few listens, and some top guests. Tom Misch, one of my favorite pop/soul/jazz artists of the last few years, can be heard on guitar on the album opener “Nobody’s Fault”, Benny’s favorite track on the album. My favorites actually vary from time to time. Right now it is the easily floating “Here It Comes”, somehow bridging the gap between nostalgia and a bright future ahead. It’s a fascinating little gem, always on the edge of melancholy, but turning the corner just in time.
“Sunny Afternoon”, co-written with P.J. Morton, is just that, a sunny piece with Benny’s signature high-pitched voice, a little pop hymn, irresistible and catchy. On “Rolled Up”, a song he wrote with Mac DeMarco, it seems that the overall optimistic and positive attitude and atmosphere of the album makes way for some more introspective, disheartened minutes. But it perfectly fits. “Lost Again” comes along as a bright, Motown-esque little wonder, unpretentious and simple. “Break Away” goes back to that darker, bluer mood of “Rolled Up”, including some effective string and backing vocal arrangement.
Additional spice comes in the wake of the 80s UK New Wave-based “Kids” which features LA-based rapper KYLE who thankfully doesn’t rap here, but adds his smart singing voice. “Run Right Back” mixes the Bee Gees with Ed Motta and includes a short sax solo, effectively and surprisingly altering the proceedings again slightly, with just a tiny little change of style. My second favorite is “Miracles” which features the wonderful Emily King and Kelsey Gonzales from The Free Nationals. The tune has an amazing vocal arrangement, somehow reminding me of my all-time favorite Benny song, “Make A Rainbow”, from his 2004 album “I Love You”. Pop meets Gospel in perfect harmony. The album concludes with the title track, another little pop anthem which will be stuck in your head for a while, putting a smile on your face. Catch the album on vinyl if you can.
Benny will celebrate his release with a livestream concert performed with a full band, under the stars, at The Planetarium in his hometown of Amsterdam. The concert will begin at 9pm CET / 8pm GMT and “pay what you want” tickets are now available: www.bennysings/livestream