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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Benson Boone: Rollerblades up and taking off like fireworks

A+photo+of+singer+Benson+Boone+smoldering+boldly+on+what+could+be+described+by+some+as+a+boulder.+%7C+Image+credits%3A+Dennis+Leupold
Dennis Leupold
A photo of singer Benson Boone smoldering boldly on what could be described by some as a boulder. | Image credits: Dennis Leupold

The musical landscape has grown ever volatile, constantly changing to welcome new trends and artists. Ever since TikTok became a platform capable of causing the burgeoning of small artists, musicians have flocked to the app to try and become the next Doja Cat or PinkPantheress.

Benson Boone, real name Benson Boone, stands as a prime exemplar of this trend as his musical career essentially began on TikTok around 2021. Now, a global sensation, he stands at 60.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, with 555 million streams on one of his most popular song, Beautiful Things, which he released as a single in January of this year. 

His rise to fame owes much to his TikTok presence, which was also responsible for getting him a spot on American Idol where he advanced to the top 24. After dropping out of the competition, he was approached by Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds who coached him on songwriting and later offered him a record deal.

Benson Boone during his audition for American Idol in 2021. | Image credit: ABC/Christopher Willard (Christopher Willard)

After Boone officially signed as an artist, he re-emerged on TikTok, gathering significantly more exposure. His songs, namely “Beautiful Things,” became interlinked with trends that Boone frequently engages in.

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With TikTok as his main instrument, it’s unsurprising that his actual instrumentation is lacking. Boone’s music showcases the growing trend of “TikTok-ification” in the music industry where artists focus less on the song as a greater piece and more on featuring a punchy, recognizable, catchy hook that can easily be lip-synced.

I believe I would be a larger fan of his if his music featured more interesting instruments, rather than the repetitive subtle beat of gentle guitar or solemn piano. However, while the instrumentals render the music forgettable and bland, they effectively highlight his skilled voice.

His voice is masterfully manipulated in each song, as he uses stresses and rasps to create iconic sound bites that become common on TikTok. While his choruses and hooks stand out beautifully on their own, it’s worth noting that his voice never falters throughout any of his songs. 

The cover of Boone’s newest album, Fireworks and Rollerblades. | Image credits: Apple Music/Benson Boone

Rudimentary instrumentation is often ignored when a vocal powerhouse is able to energize the song. However, as a fan of music that heavily focuses on intricate, quick, and often overwhelming instruments, I found it challenging to solely admire his well-utilized voice. Until April 4, I hadn’t discovered any tracks to include in my playlists, but that changed with the release of Boone’s debut album, Fireworks and Rollerblades.

As a new artist, it’s not surprising that he’s grown with each release—however, the extent of improvement that can be found between his first single and his debut album is extraordinary. Even as someone that doesn’t appreciate this genre as often as I should, I admire how he has grown as a musician. 

His new songs don’t seem as focused on 8-second verses and instead consider the song as an overall piece. His instrumentation, while still basic in order to highlight his vocals, has grown in complexity and sounds exponentially better now.

Boone performing in Denver during his PULSE tour. | Image credit: Shannon Shumaker/Prelude Press

My favorite songs were “Cry,” “What Do You Want,” and “Slow It Down.” In my opinion, these songs are the greatest examples of his improvement and how he has learned to play into his strength as a vocalist. Many of his songs still carry a poignant sense of sadness, staying true to his soulful style. I don’t typically enjoy sad and slow songs, but I certainly loved a few of his.

Among the numerous artists scrambling to find a platform on TikTok, Benson Boone stands out as one of the rare talents displaying genuine skill. His songs feature extremely satisfying peaks and grand oscillations that highlight his mastery of vocals. I firmly believe he is poised for growth and will maintain his position as one of the few artists to become a household name following a career on TikTok.

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About the Contributor
Nadia Talanker
Nadia Talanker, Entertainment Editor
Nadia is a senior at CVHS in her 4th year of writing for the Upstream. She has been writing as a hobby and competitively for nearly a decade and her favorite part about journalism is the responses to her articles. She is most interested in psychology, activism/equality, pop culture, video games, and the Olympics, which is reflected in her publications. She associates herself with several nonprofit organizations and enjoys volunteering.
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