Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Conan Gray depicts an unreachable yet utterly desirable love in ‘Superache’

Conan Gray can be considered as one of the most inspirational and creative young artists of the modern generation. He has been greatly inspired during his singer/songwriter career by early life experiences, as he moved houses frequently (explained in a “Draw My Life” video) before finally settling down in Georgetown, Texas. His music incorporates genres of indie and bedroom pop, taking inspiration from Taylor Swift, as he told American Magazine “People”. 

Gray’s newest album ‘Superache’ combines the best of his previous releases to provide listeners with an awesome array of songs, perfectly constructed. 

The first song on the album, ‘Movies’, and describes an almost unattainable love. A love between two people mimics what most listeners have seen in film. The line “baby this ain’t like the movies” provides listeners with the harsh reality of life, with its lack of perfection as opposed to the illusions of cinema romance. The lines “in my head/ we’re dancing in the dark/ in my head/ we kiss under the stars” gives a fantasy-like sound to the song, which is accompanied by a soft, consistent instrumental that highlights the pain caused by this love. 

The following three tracks, ‘People Watching’, ‘Disaster’ and ‘Best friend’ have more of a cheerful tone to them. They all demonstrate a brighter element to the album that provides listeners with a sense of variety in the album from the get-go. ‘People Watching’ presents the idea of window-shopping for love – seeing others together, yet never being able to truly relate. The brighter sound of this track enables its message of finding love to appear more hopeful; the lyrics “someday I’ll be falling without caution” emphasises this. The song ‘Disaster’ begins with a fast rhythm, making it sound chaotic. This develops into a sense that falling in love can be turbulent, but worth it; the lyrics “this could be a disaster” give the track and the love a sense of impulsivity, but having fun and being happy regardless. Finally, the song ‘Best Friend’ doesn’t sound as bright as the others, but as the song moves from the first verse to the chorus, it becomes clear that the underlying message is a positive one. The lyrics “who else is gonna grocery shop with me at two AM” presents an insight into the best kind of close friendship.

As the album approaches its halfway point with tracks five and six, ‘Astronomy’ and ‘Yours’, the gloomier atmospheres of some of Gray’s other tracks returns. The fifth track describes a separation between two people, and the difficulties that distance puts in place. The choral line of “it’s astronomy, we’re two worlds apart” delivers this message well. The following song has a similar concept: “I’m somebody you touch but never hold” and “all I really wanted was that look in your eyes/ like you already know I’m the love of your life”. Conan appreciates the difficulties of finding love – true love – in modern times and expresses this wonderfully. 

The next songs both give listeners a sense of incompleteness. In ‘Jigsaw’, Gray says “I look in the mirror, now I’m just a Jigsaw”, referencing the changes and sacrifices to one’s true self that may occur as a result of love. The line “If I made you like me, would I even like myself” being placed before the louder, more sudden use of the lead guitar creates a sense of chaos in changing appearances for someone else. The track ‘Family line’ is the most personal on the album, with concepts of family, relationships, and domestic struggles on display. “Scattered across my family line” and “Got my father's eyes” are lyrics that revolve around the idea of taking parts and experiences from family members into your future. Each person is unique, and Gray implies that there is often a lot more to one than meets the eye. This message is continued in the tragic song “Summer Child”, where Conan sings “But there’s darkness behind those eyes even when you smile”. Here, listeners are provided with an uttered sense of the unknown in a person’s background and are encouraged to accept and love those who seem different.

As the album reaches a close, the songs ‘Footnote’‘Memories’, and ‘The Exit’ are played, bringing this spectacular album to a satisfying end. The former two are more sombre than the final track, with ‘Footnote’ beginning like an old movie tape – accompanied by a constant, repetitive guitar riff creating a feeling of being grounded in the music. The lyrics “please don’t forget”  and “a footnote’ll do” demonstrate the importance of memories and remembering the key aspects of those you love. The following song acts like an expansion of this, focusing on the core idea of memory. ‘Memories’ begins with a soft piano melody that encapsulates the concept of nostalgia. The lyrics “I wish that you would stay in my memories but you showed up today just to ruin things” provide listeners with the pain of finding it impossible to get over someone; that being in love is forever. The final song acts as exit music, opening with a thoughtful guitar riff. With the pause between the words “I’m still standing at” and “the exit” alongside the sudden beat straight after, the message of letting go and putting distance between oneself and those who do more harm than good is clear and crucial. 

This incredible album has already received rave comments on social media sites and gives listeners the opportunity to see a clear thought process behind its creation. Opening with a sense of wanting and seeing true love from the outside, then moving to a platonic friendship that could blossom into something more (despite it being a one-sided affair), and ending with having to leave behind a damaging and destructive love. Gray pours his heart out in this album and does so in his usual poetically brilliant manner. 


Abby Price 


Image:  Conan Gray ‘Superache’ Official Album Cover


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