Songs like “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and “Say So” by Doja Cat were critical in the early days of COVID quarantines and solo Tik Tok videos. Another track, and the two artists featured on it, that benefited tremendously from its surge in popularity at that particular moment in time was BENEE and Gus Dapperton’s “Supalonely,” which was originally included on BENEE’s EP Stella & Steve a year earlier.
The track peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went 2x platinum in the US, immediately establishing BENEE, a young singer/songwriter from Auckland, NZ, and Dapperton, a New York-born figure in alternative pop, as ones to watch. “Supalonely,” a self-deprecating tune detailing BENEE’s recent breakup, is light, floaty, and mindless YA-geared pop. Exactly just what was needed in the spring of 2020.
Their new collaboration, “Don’t Let Me Down,” off a short three-track project by Dapperton, takes a different turn. On “Supalonely,” Dapperton added nothing to the story of BENEE’s attempt at an emotional defense mechanism, simply tacking on a short verse of near gibberish to the back half of the track. “Don’t Let Me Down” is a well-executed back-and-forth between two people nearing the end of a relationship and sees both BENEE and Dapperton genuinely connected to the material.
BENEE, who was just 19 when she released “Supalonely,” sounds mature and refined here… the edges of her voice rounded off just slightly, but effectively: “Kinda funny how you thought I’d wait / Even told me that I’d changed / I don’t wanna make it worse / There’s nothing I can say.”
Dapperton admits to his wrongdoing on his verse, a well-crafted response to BENNE’s omission that she is moving on: “I let myself ride the wave / I fall into my childish ways / And put our lives on display for everyone to judge.”
Sound-wise, the track appears designed to be played in crowded spaces. Designed for dancing in a club, or at a concert. It drips with the sound and aesthetic of 80’s pop, dominated by shiny synths and an old-school Madonna-type beat. Riding the wave of the smoky club sound, BENEE and Dapperton show that they may have developed more emotional chemistry than they previously let on. The result is a believable piece of adult-oriented music.
If they were to release a full collaborative project, it would certainly not be the worst decision.
Stream “Don’t Let Me Down” on Spotify: