top of page
  • lauryverdoux

Benedict Sinister's 'Only Sixteen': A Bold Artistic Odyssey Through Language and Music

On September 29th, the enigmatic French/Australian artist Benedict Sinister unveiled his latest musical endeavor: "Only Sixteen". Released under the Music For Sapiosexuals label, this single marks a significant departure from his previous club hits, "EDM Mockney" and "Going Away". Benedict Sinister's unconventional approach to music and his creative journey are on full display in this intriguing release.

"It's an adaptation of an Italian song, and the original title would translate as 'Self Esteem'" Sinister explains. However, his decision to change the title was far from arbitrary. It was a calculated move to create confusion with the 1975 Dr. Hook hit "Only Sixteen," famously written by Sam Cooke. This choice was not about avoiding confusion with the British artist of the same name but rather a clever tactic to disrupt Spotify's and YouTube's algorithms. In doing so, Sinister aimed to facilitate discovery among the massive army of Dr. Hook fans, and in true Sinister fashion, he succeeded.

"Only Sixteen" is a poignant love song that takes us back to the bittersweet memories of teenage heartbreak. Benedict describes it as a fusion of "Emo rap meets Adele". The track is an English-language adaptation of the Italian trap song "Autostima" by the underground teen Napolitan-Roman duo Psicologi. This Italian original went viral and even found its way onto the soundtrack of the popular Netflix show, "Summertime". Sinister not only translated the lyrics but also added a new final verse, laced with his signature references to other artists, including a nod to Cat Stevens. This marks his first foray into adapting Italian songs, following the success of his English versions of works by French master lyricists Serge Gainsbourg and Vincent Delerm.

"Only Sixteen" emerges at a time when Italian music is gaining prominence in the Anglo world. In a song that delves into the experiences of a teenager exploring their identity, featuring talent who has navigated a different path adds depth to the narrative.


bottom of page