Collaborating with Cara Walkam, aka meadowhip, the indie-pop group Strawberry Swing creates retro-inspired magic on their newest single, “Bennie (Won’t Dance),” out June 10. In just two minutes and 39 seconds, the song transports listeners into a jukebox haven and is intentionally reminiscent of pop icons from decades past. The song is the first in which Mark Griffin (drums, lyrics) and Nima Dehghani (keyboard, vocals) co-wrote together. Combining their talents, Griffin describes the song as “a bit of a tongue-in-cheek conversation with the audience.”
He explains that they were “acknowledging the fact that modern audiences love listening to classic tunes” and wanted to add to that in a reimagined way. “We’re saying, ‘Hey, we’re like those guys with a modern twist, so come and dance to our music too!’” The two joke that despite the song incorporating a lively and vibrant swing section, the addition had nothing to do with the eventual name of their band.
The lyrics, written impressively in around 30 minutes, served as an homage to the classics as Griffin attempted to fit as many rock references in as possible. Mimicking the often simplistic lyrical choices of classic pop, the song deals with friendship and lighthearted fun. Inspired by icons like Elton John, Billie Joel, David Bowie and the Beatles, it’s evident the two were having fun when writing and recording the song, which only makes the experience that much more fun for listeners.
Leaning into a driving groove and a dynamic indie-rock sound, the voice of Walkam carries the song with a playful melodic structure. Of course, the biggest irony of the track lies in its title. Although Bennie simply refuses to dance with the character at hand, it’s hard not to want to jive when listening to “Bennie (Won’t Dance).” “We’re just asking the audience to listen for a minute, let go and be swept up in the fun.”