Latest release Cruel finds Sydney producer jnr. at his most vulnerable, singing of breakups atop poppy electronica.
Equal parts mournful ballad and housey electro-pop, jnr.’s single Cruel which lands on our hot laps tomorrow is a testament to the Sydney producer’s commitment to experimentation. The new track opens with gentle acoustic guitar as jnr. — known offstage as Ben Siva — croons of a relationship on the brink of heartbreak. “Sick of sitting in silence,” he sings within a trebled, ambient soundscape, “but if we talk it’ll hurt.”
Chopped and distorted vocals later make way for a second verse courtesy of JËVA. The pair trade lines as the tempo heightens, before an explosive, house-infused drum sequence serves as Cruel’s ultimate sonic release. The blend of poppy electronica fades on the blissful outro, with the reintroduction of acoustic strums bookending jnr.’s emotional reflection on romantic estrangement.
jnr. is the moniker of Sydney musician Ben Siva, with Cruel serving as the producer and songwriter’s latest in a string of standalone singles released since 2022. Siva’s current catalogue — spanning pop-punk debut single remember and February’s I Didn’t Know Myself — sits firmly in a space of experimentation, with a penchant for catchy hooks and synth-pop.
While each release details the throes of young romance — like the futility of a friends-with-benefits arrangement on A Friend — Cruel finds jnr. at his most vulnerable, a state reflected in the track’s lovelorn lyrics and melancholic vocals. Few young artists can reflect on these topics with such maturity, but Siva possesses a lyricism seemingly more suited to an artist 10 years his senior.
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“Cruel is the break-up before the break-up; when you both know that something is wrong in the relationship, but you can’t leave out of fear, selfishness, or a lack of self-confidence,” the single’s press statement reads. Alongside JËVA, jnr. has collaborated with fellow Sydney upstarts like Corrj and ANGE, and shared the stage with acts RARIA and BIRDEE. The musician’s collaborative diversity also extends to his list of influences, which spans the likes of The 1975, Lauv and PC Music.
Get all in your feels with jnr.’s new JËVA-assisted single Cruel out tomorrow.