Photo: Jess Farran
Gus Dapperton is an artist that regularly defies simple classification. From the visceral R&B of "Fill Me Up Anthem" to the delicate charm of "My Favorite Fish," the New York-based artist seems to revel in exploring the fringes of a genreless landscape. Yet, it is his latest single that feels like his largest departure to date.
"First Aid" sees Dapperton at arguably his most downtrodden and vulnerable. The first single from his forthcoming sophomore album due out later this year, there is a noted shift in perspective. In his own words, "In the past, I've written my songs from a place of love and heartbreak. This album is about internal pain and suffering."
This sentiment is apparent from the outset, as the isolated acoustic guitar strumming is left to set the stage for Dapperton's emotional outpour. Playing with perspective shifts between first and third person, the emo-tinged single is a candid reflection on his state of his mind while alone on tour. "I pledge my love to the runt who never got away / I mend my cuts for the runt that you convinced to stay, to stay," repeats the New York artist in an ensuing mantra that is largely self-referential.
While "First Aid" largely revolves around themes of perceived isolation, there is one saving grace in the form of Amadelle, Dapperton's sister and collaborator who also lends her vocals to the track. "I would slit his wrists and reminisce if it wasn't for my sis / She's got heart the size of I-95, I drive," confesses Dapperton in a moment of heartbreaking honesty and adoration.
In turning his lens completely inward, Dapperton has delivered his most unapologetic single to date. "First Aid Kit" is more than just an exceptional teaser of what his sophomore album has in store; it is a testament to the cathartic wellspring the New York purveyor imbues in each and every one of his tracks.
Listen to "First Aid" below: