Born and raised in Maryland, US, singer-songwriter and producer Dead Emerson wears his heart on his sleeve on his latest self-released single ‘On The Outs’. There are certain songs that stop you right in your tracks upon first listen and ‘On The Outs’, released off Dead Emerson’s debut EP ‘…And, Action!’, is certainly one of those. This hauntingly beautiful single is simple in production yet is heavy in raw emotion. Its stripped back nature of piano accompanied by a sustained ethereal synth pad is the perfect bed for Emerson’s raw yet soothing vocal tone to take centre stage. Emerson opens the track vulnerably with “You said I would never love you right…You did me that haunting night” before concluding in falsetto “You said you’d be here on the other side” followed by an emotive yearn with “Well I’m here now!” Although the addition of retro synths brings about an 80s sonic feel to the track, it’s the melodic arrangement of the piano and at times Emerson’s heartfelt vocal delivery that leaves me thinking ‘On The Outs’ strongly reminiscent of The Pogues 1988, now Christmas smash single ‘Fairytale of New York’ featuring Kirsty MacColl.
Dead Emerson first made his appearance with his debut single ‘Fools Gold’ back in 2019. The track showcased Emersons ability for crafting infectious shoegaze-leaning, indie-rock songs accompanied by his vulnerable introspective lyricism and cathartic vocal delivery. Since then, Emerson has released a handful of singles varying from more laid-back indie-pop singles such as ‘Cold Summer’ and ‘24’ whereas the 2020 single ‘Sucker Punch’ displays Emerson’s more brisk side on a fast tempo surf-rock, indie-punk inspired production. Lyrically Emerson centres around themes of commercialisation, adolescence and the idea of “embracing life’s uglier moments” on his debut EP. ‘…And, Action!’ is a body of work that has enabled Emerson to freely produce sonic instrumentals from varying inspirations. While lead single ‘American Daydreaming’ offers Emerson’s views on the myth of the American dream over a hazy guitar and synth driven production, ‘Eleventh Hour’ picks up the pace with its 16th hi-hat pattern and arpeggiated lead guitar melody reminiscent of early Vampire Weekend.
When asked about his new single, Dead Emerson described that, “I am not often vulnerable in my writing because rarely do I find things worth opening up about to a larger audience. This was a moment where I subconsciously flew right past that inhibition. Listening back to the song, I realize that part of myself was still very raw and that I don’t think I could have held myself back if I tried.” He added by stating:“We got a few shows in the works. I moved to Brooklyn in June, but it’s been such a long process with this EP that I haven’t had much time to really explore the area. I think I’m mostly excited to get back to writing and other creative outlets. I’m teaching myself how to solder right now so I can make microphones out of old speakers.”