Review: Conan Gray proves his place in indie-pop music world with ‘Kid Krow’

Conan Gray's new album,

Photo credit: Conan Gray promotional pictures

Conan Gray's new album, "Kid Krow" was released on March 20, 2020. "My friends have always joked that if I were an animal I would be a crow," Gray shares that this was the inspiration behind the album cover and title in an Apple Music interview.

By Lizette Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

In 2013, Conan Gray was a YouTube vlogger speaking about his life in small-town Texas, but don’t write him off as just another fad. His debut album “Kid Krow” proved that Gray is a new talent to watch. On March 20, the former Youtube star released a 12-track album that provided insight on his past love, childhood and overall life. Because of his success on his first EP, “Sunset Season”  I was excited about what this album would bring. After listening for the first time, it felt as if Gray handed us a diary that was filled with beautiful melodies and clever lyrics.

Within the first weeks of its release, the album received a lot of success, such as debuting on number two on Billboard Top Album Sales. Its U.S. consumption exceeded 49,000+ downloads on only its first week and surpassed 200,000 globally.

The first single and track, “Comfort Crowd,” started off the album with a heartwarming message. The song begins with a simple melody and intriguing lyrics, but as it progresses, the unexpected beat drop makes the chorus something special.

The song discusses the values of spending time with friends. He sings, “I don’t care what songs we play, or mess that we make, just company now,” which reinforces the theme of the song. Although the bass and Gray’s soft vocals made it feel that this song was the typical ballad, it also felt that this was a promise towards the importance of friendships.

The last single Gray released prior to the album was, “Wish You Were Sober.” This song is definitely one of my favorite tracks because of the beat. It’s the type of song that leaves people wanting to dance around freely. The melody that accompanied the chorus was incredibly catchy and made the song way better than how it first started. The track talks about a relationship that only happens when the other partner is intoxicated, and Gray sings, “Real sweet but I wish you were sober.”

“I think the song is about all those mixed emotions, all the craziness behind being young and getting super drunk and calling someone and telling them that you love them,” Gray said in an Apple Music interview.

Gray included two interludes that were less than one minute on the album, one of them being “Online Love.” This short track featured the idea of an online relationship and the bittersweet feelings of not being able to see the person. In the age of where dating apps and social media are prominent, this song hits home.

Behind Gray’s voice, there is an audio of an in-person conversation and people laughing — a juxtaposition that made the track more emotionally resonant. The feeling of pain he was evoking was very prominent. Additionally, the clever lyrics that matched this made his relationship come to life, he sings, “You only pass through my city, every once in a million seconds, on a broken clock.”

This album evokes so many different types of emotions and ultimately shows the versatility that Gray is capable of. The themes he touched on in this album were very relatable, which is what led this to be as successful as it is.

For example, the album takes a turn on the song “Checkmate.” Throughout the song, Gray paints the picture of how his partner isn’t loyal to him but takes a unique twist on the situation. Instead of singing about his heartbreak, he talks about getting revenge on his partner for the pain he caused. With the explosive chorus that is filled with electric guitars, this song checks off every box for it to be the angry break-up song everyone loves. Lastly, Gray continues with his clever lyrics as he sings, “I’ll let you think you won, holding your hand, but in the other one, I’m holding a loaded gun.”

The sixth track, “Affluenza” criticizes how much the youth depend and thrive off the idea of equating money to happiness. With lyrics such as “wrecking daddy’s Benz” and “eighty grand in both your hands, but no love” shows that Gray was not trying to hide the simple message he wanted to get across to his audience: money can’t buy happiness.

“I grew up with financial ups and downs my whole entire life…then I moved to LA and I discovered this whole other side of the world where they are kids who grew up insanely rich,” Gray said in an Apple Music interview. “I figured out that it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter how much money you have. We all have a lot of the same problems.”

The seventh song, “Fight or Flight” is the only song that didn’t evoke as many emotions or interest compared to other songs on the album. The melody and beats were very similar to “Comfort Crowd,” so sonically, it was unoriginal. Additionally, the theme — a cheating partner — lacked the unique twist that characterizes Gray’s other songs.

Lastly, “Heather” is hands down my favorite song of the album because Gray takes the story of rejection and changes the perspective. Instead of singing about his feelings towards the person who caused him heartbreak, he sings about the person that he loses his partner to, which is a new idea that not a lot of artists take on. He talks about how the person he’s in love with, is in love with someone else instead. Gray truthfully sings, “But how could I hate her, she’s such an angel, but then again, kinda wish she were dead.” The “her” throughout the song is the person he loves is in love with. I feel that a lot of people can relate to this song and having a Heather at one point in their life. This ballad shows off Gray’s vocals in the best way as the song builds up to the perfect orchestral moment.

Everything on this album worked perfectly and elicited many emotions, from cheer to sadness. Gray sings about all issues that the youth can encounter in their life with his signature style and melodies. With upbeat anthems to melodramatic ballads, this album proved to fulfill all of my expectations. “Kid Krow” is truly a promising start for Gray’s career, and I am eagerly waiting for any new projects of his in the future.

  • Originality
  • Lyrics
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact
4.7

Summary

Conan Gray’s second album, “Kid Krow” features 12 tracks that vary from upbeat anthems to melodramatic ballads