Sturm und drang

ABy June Pineda

As her name suggests, there is nothing predictable about singer-songwriter Benna, who offers up 14 romantic pop songs on her third album, “What’s Meant to Be.” Benna’s tunes might seem typical of the music playing in the background of a Dawson’s Creek episode, yet her lyrics are impressively mature.

“The One for You,” a rich acoustic ballad accompanied by whispered sopranic vocals, is characteristic of most songs on the album: “I don’t want to know the whys / The disappointing facts of our lives / I just want to keep it tight / Under locks you can’t break open / Let’s keep thinking we’re mistaken / And then no one has to leave in bitter cries.”

But the most skillful lyrics on the album show up in another ballad, “Bloody Red”: “I was just walking and smoking a memory / Joking ’bout nothing with no one I knew.” Benna then confesses, “I like the breeze of you, I’d like a piece of you / Sorry I wish but I can’t give you life / Charging and storming regardless in spite of / What some may think of my fire.”

The song demonstrates Benna’s flair for writing about the tragedies of love. Absent, however, is the low-spirited mood characteristic of other romantic pop ballads. Rather, Benna’s insightful lyrics sing of inner-strength and self-empowerment without sounding scorned.

Another song worthy of mention is “Unlisted,” where Benna tells her audience about the “empty hours” and “drifting weightlessness” she endures on tour. The lyrics speak to beleaguered musicians and fleeting college students alike, and are undoubtedly more introspective than a teenage girl’s journal entry.

After having tirelessly performed in New York City clubs, Benna is following up her latest release with an extensive solo tour. Not all of her tracks are ripe, but “What’s Meant to Be” is a solid attempt at balancing heartfelt lyrics with conventional pop. You’ll quickly find yourself humming to her melodies.

Benna will perform with Malachi Constant, Hockey Night and Salubrious Invertebrae at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Eclipse Records, (651) 698-0908, all ages, free. She will perform with Tora Tora Torrance, the Douglass Kings, Jesse Willis/Mike Midwestern and Huge Rat Attacks at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fireball Espresso Cafe, (651) 647-1887, all ages, $6.