Conan Gray brings cinematic energy to debut album

Conan Gray released his debut album “Kid Krow” on Friday, March 20, which feels like the soundtrack to a coming-of-age film in all the right ways.  

The album features pre-released fan favorites like songs “Maniac,” “Checkmate,” “Comfort Crowd” and “The Story.”

“Comfort Crowd” begins the record with only Gray’s vocals and a sensual bass. Throughout the song, he begs for company, anyone to come and listen to him.  

The best song on the album is hands-down “Wish You Were Sober.” The track starts with the repetition of the title with Gray’s layered vocals. Through layering his vocals, the musician creates a sense of multiple characters singing the lyrics, adding more to the party atmosphere inspiration which he says is a crowd he doesn’t belong to. This tune is an instant hit love song that sounds like a 90s romantic comedy come to life.  

Of course, the album features the insanely popular song “Maniac,” which had over 90 million streams in the first two months alone. The song combines synthesizer beats with catchy lyrics to create an instant hit. Upon the debut of the album, Gray describes the song as “a cathartic post break-up song dedicated to psychotic exes.”

A fan favorite is “Checkmate,” where Gray alternates between intricate guitar strumming and heavy drums to just Gray’s vocals to mimic the adrenaline of playing a game. The post-breakup stage of anger drives him to want to ruin his ex’s life. 

“Heather” is a complete shock. This song captures both jealousy and insecurity in such a sad way with Gray crying out in the background vocals. The track displays him hating a girl because she’s loved by his crush. He apologetically sings about how much he wanted to be Heather.

The album relies heavily on Gray’s vocals and guitar, which makes sense considering he made his debut on YouTube by creating music with those instruments completely by himself.  He, along with other artists, have ushered in a new era of pop titled “Bedroom Pop” due to it being self-made in their bedrooms rather than in a studio.

Gray creates a sense of overwhelming nostalgia throughout this album. Despite being new to the mainstream music industry, Gray shows wisdom far beyond his years. His lyrics clearly state his feelings and his vocals can’t help but be empathized with.