Criminally Underrated: Benny Sings Proves Himself Again With City Pop

Despite a consistent career and continued performance, the world has still not woken up for Benny Sings.

Since 2005, Benny Sings has put out six studio albums, one live album, and a beat tape. His work is consistently impressive, especially his Tiny Desk Concert from Jan. 2016.

Benny Sings, known as Tim van Berkestijn, is a 42-year-old Dutch alternative artist that has been pumping out incredible music for 15 years. Following the release of his latest album City Pop, addressing the lack of exposure he has garnered has become my goal for the week.

Last year, when Rex Orange County dropped “Loving is Easy (feat. Benny Sings),” I thought for sure that Benny Sings was going to finally get the plays he deserves. Not only was he a prominent figure on the cover and in the music video, but Rex also gave his praise to the artist on Twitter. While I’m sure he saw some new fans, Benny is still unfortunately underknown.

Benny Sings is the real deal, and being familiar with his music is a real treat. To me, it seems like every track of his could the next big anthem, and his latest work is no exception. The 39-minute, 11-song, three-feature project “City Pop” came out on Feb. 22, Benny’s first album since “Studio” in 2015.

The album boasts a carefree and lighthearted vibe while being packed full of exciting tracks from start to end. Benny Sings channels different sounds in this project, and the culmination stands as one of the easiest listens I’ve heard this year.

Some of the most notable highlights from this project are Benny’s performances on “Familiar” and “Softly (Tokyo).” On both tracks, Benny channels a Rex or Gus Dapperton-esque approach, and his execution is flawless. “Softly” has taken the spot as my favorite track on the album and has been stuck in my head since the project’s release.

I was extremely pleased with Benny’s incorporation of funk in his music on tracks like “Not Enough” and “Duplicate (feat. Mocky).” These songs resembled a sound similar to Vulfpeck with strong instrumentation such as the saxophone solo in “Not Enough” and vocal style on “Duplicate.” Benny takes it a step further with the more electronic and synth-pop influenced track “Late at Night.”

Some of my favorite songs on this project are dominantly instrumentals with the trippy “Summerlude” and the poppy “Nakemeguro (feat. Faberyayo).” Similar to Benny’s beat tape from 2018, the tracks mostly feature Benny’s instrumentation alongside some minor background vocals.

“Dreamin’” showcases Benny’s carefree nature in his style of music. The track is one of my most played since the project’s release and the one I can see significantly contributing to Benny’s popularity.

This album demonstrates a wonderful balance of sounds and styles with high replay value. The project is perfect in length, thoughtful in composition, and excellent in performance.

Despite the age difference between Benny Sings and the other artists in his sub-genre, Benny has made a great album that has and will continue to attract a solid amount of listeners. With the way his new music video for “Not Enough” has done on Youtube, I expect to see Benny on everyone’s springtime playlist.

Andrew Edds

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