By: Emmanuelle Feria
The long awaited album has finally come. Kid Krow was released on March 20, 2020. While Conan is no rookie to song release and production, this was his first album to come out, containing recent originals, as well as his beloved songs from Sunset Season— his 2018 EP. The EP was released during his senior year of high school, so the 2020 album showcases growth in his songwriting, as well as his story-telling skills.
For those who don’t know, Conan Gray is a 21 year old Indie singer and song-writer from Georgetown, Texas. His most famous song prior to the release of Kid Krow was “Maniac!”, which made it to the Top 40 on the Pop Charts. Kid Krow changed everything for Conan, with Kid Krow being the biggest US Debut Album of 2020, debuting at No 5 on the billboard 200. He has gained worldwide recognition. It’s safe to say that the current global situation has helped increase the number of streams, since people need a distraction and have more free time to listen to his music. In times like these, escapism and escapist media is undoubtedly popular.
Having been a fan of Conan’s since Sunset Season, the album did not disappoint, and completely exceeded my expectations. Having nothing better to do during the early days of quarantine, I stayed up late and listened to the entire album as soon as it was released. Needless to say, I sobbed to the entire album. The lyrics were so poignant and the songs so heart-wrenching and thought provoking. I have no regrets about losing sleep, quite literally, over this album.
The songs on the album evoke a whirlwind of emotions. Conan voices emotions and thoughts most wouldn’t like to admit, such as the resentment of a crush’s significant other in “Heather,” the deep sadness of rich kids in “Affluenza” and falling out of love and into anger in “Fight or Flight”. He also included several interludes “for the fans”, including “Online Love” and “(Can We Be Friends?),” which were short yet meaningful, sentimental songs. There are also more upbeat songs like “Wish You Were Sober,” “Maniac,” “Checkmate” and “Fight or Flight”.
Conan said in multiple interviews that he drew his inspiration for song-writing and musical style from Taylor Swift and Lorde, his two “role models.” “Little League” evokes a Lorde-esque feel, with its reminiscence of childhood and his fear of growing up, similar to that in Lorde’s song “Ribs.” Conan Gray recently gained recognition from his longtime pop idol, Taylor Swift, she shared his song “Wish You Were Sober” to her Instagram story.
This album, as Conan has expressed in multiple interviews, is a culmination of his childhood experiences and his more recent college experiences. For instance, his 2019 song on the album “Comfort Crowd” is about a childhood, life-long friend of his, while the song “Affluenza” is about the affluenzic young adults he encountered during his time at UCLA. Since his last EP encapsulated his senior year, the Kid Krow album added much needed closure and continuity to Gray’s discography.
Conan Gray opens up more about his “tough” childhood in the album and allows the fans to see the vulnerable and personal side to him. His songs continue to shed light on the Gen Z experience. The imagined love scenario and the sadness of someone just being “an online love” and the nostalgia of fleeting youth “Little League”.
Kid Krow feels like a coming of age soundtrack. Conan Gray beautifully captures the teenage experience and balances out sentimentality with memorable lyrics. Overall, I highly recommend listening to Kid Krow and can’t wait to see what Conan has in store next.