Conan Gray comes to age in ‘Kid Krow’

A dreamy soundtrack and honest lyrics form Gray’s best release.

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Courtesy of soundigest.com

Emily Coffey, Staff Writer

Kid Krow”, released March 20 by social media influencer turned musical genius Conan Gray delivers clever lyrics, powerful vocals and an evolved musicality that carries him to the threshold of greatness with other stars such as Troye Sivan or Harry Styles. The album is congruent with previous releases but leaves listeners with a different flavor than expected—bittersweet and terribly honest as he details his struggles with home life, romantics and inner turmoil. The album sounds like what young love feels like—fit for a coming-of-age movie, yet shows a maturity and transparency rivaled by few. 

KID SEEKS COMFORT

Gray is the poster child for a Generation Z rising star—starting on social media, gaining millions of followers and then emerging into the music industry, like artist Shawn Mendes or Greyson Chance. Social media-garnered fame is unique because it allows a greater sense of connection to the fan base, even from the very start of their careers. This should technically lead to a greater sense of connection that eases the isolation that popular artists tend to experience, but “Comfort Crowd” begs to differ. 

“This hurt that I’m holding’s gettin’ heavy/ But I’ma keep a smile on my shoulders ’til I’m sweaty/ Beggin’ on my knees/ Screamin’, ‘Someone come and help me,’” Gray sings in the first verse.

In the first 20 seconds, the song is just  a bass line and layered with light and signature vocals. Adding a drum, then some beachy synthesizers to the passionate chorus, the song opens up into a dreamy and unexpected interlude in the bridge. 

Affluenza” switches the focus, beginning a tastefully angsty dialogue on the effect money and privilege have on the character of young people, often leading to the inevitable conclusion of despair and isolation. 

When you get what you need/ Baby, life is a breeze,” he sings in the pre-chorus, following it in the chorus with, “All these kids have got affluenza.” 

Cleverly titled, the track equates money with an illness, drawing the conclusion that it’s not really the money that’s the problem, but how it distracts people from what is actually important. 

Trust fund, gold tongue/80 grand in both your hands, but no love,” Gray sings in the bridge, over a well punctuated, bass-driven backdrop. 

CONAN COMES OF AGE 

Wish You Were Sober” adds to the scene Gray is painting—a postmodern view of what it feels like to come of age and attempt a relationship. Supposedly, this muse is the same as the ones in “Maniac,” “Checkmate” and “The Cut That Always Bleeds,” where he struggles with someone’s ability to keep him on a leash—never fully willing to commit to him relationally, but wanting all the benefits a relationship affords. 

All too common an experience of this generation, the exposure to social media and the “Affluenza” most kids are susceptible to leads to a certain unpredictability and dissatisfaction with whatever they have now. At 21 years of age, if Gray had been born in a previous generation, he’d be the age when most people would be getting married or finding their significant other.

“I can’t be your lover on a leash/Every other week, when you please,” Gray sings in the chorus. 

Little League” bemoans the burden of age. It is soaring and dreamy, pairing perfectly with how it feels to have an airplane finally lift into the air or to drive away from a sunset. Surprisingly driving, it ends abruptly with “Why did we ever have to leave/Little league?” 

END OF THE STORY

The Story” ends Kid Krow on a contemplative and slightly acoustic note. He reflects on his relationships, hoping for the best for those he loves—and for a second, the teen angst disappears and the listener hears a new Conan Gray—one who, amid the chaos, is at peace. 

“I’m afraid that’s just the way the world works,” Conan sings in the chorus, after enumerating the times he’s had to part with significant people or expectations about life. Almost silently, he hums and the song finishes out the mere 33 minutes of the album.

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