Del Water Gap Grapples With the Weight of Change in "Coping on Unemployment"


Photo: Erica Snyder

Del Water Gap, the pseudonym of the one-man wrecking crew and savant Samuel Holden Jaffe, who hit mainstream consciousness with the irresistibly addicting "Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat," has been a torch bearer for the indie genre at large since emerging onto the scene in 2018. With every project, the songwriting and sonics grow to be more ambitious as he continues to separate himself from the rest of his contemporaries. Most recently, the Brooklyn, New York-based artist blessed us with his second single of the year. Aptly dubbed "Coping on Unemployment," the song is an anthemic indie record ladened with superb pop undertones.

"Coping on Unemployment," is a striking demonstration of Del Water Gaps’ impactful, lasting songwriting. A poignant story about recovering from attachments to the bottle paired with an attempt to maneuver through the arduous schematic that is love, lines such as “I think your music got worse since you went fully sober, at least now you won’t kill yourself” cut exceptionally deep. The juxtaposition of vibrant and bright chord progressions, aided by fuzzy bass lines, serve as a beautiful contrast to the story Del Water Gap orates lyrically. A masterclass in songwriting.

“‘Coping on Unemployment; is a song about navigating the floaty salt-water bath feeling of post-Covid life in your mid-twenties," shares Del Water Gap. "It’s about the liminal space between sex and commitment. It’s about fear of permanence, self-doubt, mental health, and the challenges of maintaining a meaningful relationship when you’re still learning who you are. It’s about how hard it is to just give in and allow yourself to belong to someone when you’re constantly terrified of becoming a parody of yourself. This song is about sleeping late and fucking and listening to indie music - the life that happens between life, when you’re waiting for real life to happen. This song is about how drugs and sobriety change the way we make art, and how our culture puts the artist’s suffering on a pedestal. I used to worry that if I got sober or medicated I wouldn’t be a good artist anymore.”

A stark reminder of the medicinal potency music can bring oneself, Del Water Gap bravely dives into his psyche to remind the listener that change is in fact scary. Love is scary. But sometimes the scariest things in life are the most worth pursuing. 

"Coping on Unemployment" will appear on Del Water Gap's forthcoming sophomore album, I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet, set to release September 29.  

Watching the "Coping on Unemployment" video below:

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