Who is the tall, lanky, flamboyant, feminine, dancing, singing ball of energy covered in makeup, colorful hair dye, and baggy 80’s style clothes that’s been taking over the indie-pop scene: it’s Gus.
19-year-old Gus Dapperton appeared on the scene in 2016 with his viral single, “Moodna, Once With Grace”. The song featured heavy synths, nasally depressing singing, bluesy guitar, and a simplistic music video that exemplified Gus’s unique bowl cut and giant glasses.
From there, Gus released his debut EP, Yellow and Such, which introduced the world to “I’m Just Snacking”. The internet ate up this new single and music video; the music was good— filled with poppy synths, nasally singing, and an amazingly catchy chorus— but Gus’s appearance— consisting of big glasses, a bowl cut, huge black headphones, a bright orange jacket, and funky dance moves— was most of the hype. The music video racked up 4.8 million views and skyrocketed Gus Dapperton’s level of fame.
Following the internet success he received from his hit singles, Gus released his second EP, So You Think You’re A Comic. Once again, Gus hit gold with his single “Prune, You Talk Funny”. The single became his most popular yet, racking up 9.7 million views. On this song, the synths are absent until the chorus, and the tone is much more upbeat. Additionally, Gus sings with a more calm and happy voice here. In contrast, “I Have Lost My Pearls”, next up on the tracklist, makes up for the lack of seriousness and rawness from the first track. Gus sings with a deep voice during the verses, until the haunting synths start creeping up, exploding into a raw and beautifully wailed chorus. At this point, it seemed everything Gus would put out would be a hit.
In 2019, under high expectations, Gus Dapperton released his debut album, Where Polly People Go To Read; Gus did not disappoint. With pop smash hits such as “World Class Cinema” and “My Favorite Fish”, along with the gritty “Fill Me Up Anthem”, Gus Dapperton became the indie-pop scene’s best-kept secret. The album received positive critical reception.
Recently, while the COVID-19 lockdown was taking over the U.S., Gus crafted and released his 2nd album, Orca. On this album, Gus has matured his sound and become much more confident and clean. “Swan Song”, “Medicine”, “Post Humorous”, and “Bluebird” are all good songs, but the single, “First Aid”, takes the cake on this album. On this song, Gus’s delivery is strong, the production is on point, and the music video is just as crazy as you’d expect from him. Surprisingly, the single hasn’t gained the viral popularity as you’d expect from a Gus Dapperton record. “Post Humorous” gained the most views on YouTube, sitting at only 1.1 million. The album received poor reviews from critics, claiming that the genre is stale and the lyrics lac deep meaning.
Critics have loved Gus and critics have hated him; let’s see what young adults think, considering they are Gus’s target audience.
Madison Dewey from Wyoming High School is most definitely NOT a fan.
She says “He sounds like Harry Styles if he was bad at singing”. At one point, she even disgustedly related Gus to Weezer.
Sighing as I find a new song to show her, Madison admits to me, “this is garbage”. It’s obvious that she doesn’t like it.
When “Fill Me Up Anthem” plays in the earbuds, Madison makes a disgusted face. “It sounds like he is trying to push out a poop”, she comments.
When asked about Gus’s style of fashion, Madison insults him: “he looks like a knock-off Harry Style and he’s not original”.
Does this mean Gus has totally missed his mark? If so, how could he have such success when it comes to his hit singles and debut album? Well, it could be concluded that Madison Dewey isn’t exactly the type of person Gus relates to, or maybe her interest in RnB and hip hop eclipse her appreciation for alternative pop.
On the other hand, Brandy Kehl, also attending Wyoming High School, admires and appreciates Gus’s music and style, which makes sense considering her favorite genre of music is “pop-punk”.
In a positive tone, Brandy relates Gus’s vocals to a famous and beloved artist: she says, “he sounds like Billy Corgan”.
She also claims the “drum beats are bopping”, “the production is clean”, and the “echo-y vocals are cool”.
Brandy said “he has smooth vocals, but also be able to rough it up a bit”; she even said, “I would totally listen to this regularly”.
In Madison’s ears, Gus sucks. In Brandy’s ears, Gus rocks. Isn’t that the case for every artist?
Nevertheless, Gus is Gus. We can rely on him to continue his electropop, synth-filled art pieces; we can expect crazy hairstyles, vintage clothing, and giant glasses; and we can look forward to more crazy music videos, filled with unorthodox dance moves, vibrant colors, and film-like qualities. Gus Dapperton’s unique sound and style is what makes him different from other indie artists, and it’s what keeps us, listeners, impatiently waiting for what projects he comes out with next.