Conan Gray released his debut album, Kid Krow, on March 20. The album follows Gray through his heartbreak from unreciprocated love and his journey to happiness through forming strong bonds with his friends. The album comes after his EP, Sunset Season, which was released in 2018.
Gray starts the album off strong with one of his best songs. Originally released as a single, “Comfort Crowd” is a love song for friends. Gray sings about getting through tough times because his friends supported him. The song expresses Gray’s love for his friends in a calming and reassuring way.
The album continues with “Wish You Were Sober,” which is the first song on the album to get into Gray’s experience with unreciprocated love. The lyrics tell a story of liking someone romantically but they only return the feeling when they are under the influence of alcohol. Despite categorized as pop and a matching pop feel to the tune, listeners can hear the pain Gray goes through as he sings about wanting to feel loved back.
Continuing, “Maniac” follows a cluster of emotions. Gray expresses how he feels angry, hurt, confused and betrayed after someone he used to date tells others that he is crazy. After talking negatively about Gray, the person tries to get back with him but Gray is too angry to do so. The song has a great beat and listeners can feel the same anger Gray does. “Maniac” was originally released as a single.
The next song on the album, “(Online Love),” is a transition song less than 40 seconds long. “(Online Love)” is about someone Gray formed a great relationship with and developed feelings for on the internet. However, the person lives too far away from him for the two to pursue a romantic relationship. The song is short but sweet.
Another single he released, “Checkmate,” is a beautifully written revenge song filled with metaphors about chess. To Gray, the relationship described in the song was like a game of chess. Gray explains how someone led him on and saw other people, or “played [Gray] like [their] pawn.” He wants the person to feel the same pain that he did, so Gray uses “checkmate” as a way to express that he will win the metaphorical game of chess.
“The Cut That Always Bleeds” is one of Kid Krow’s sadder songs. The lyrics explain a person who is not serious about dating Gray. Throughout most of the song, Gray expresses how the person comes and goes as they please, and that Gray no longer wants to be used in this way. He ends the song in a devastating way by singing about how he will continue to let this person use him because he is still in love with them.
“Fight or Flight” is a catchy song despite being another one of Gray’s sorrowful ones. A person who is not serious about their relationship with Gray is leaving him for someone else. As the person tells Gray they are leaving him, he tries his best to not cry in front of them. By this point in the album, Gray makes it clear that he wants a serious relationship and no one is willing to give that to him.
Next, “Affluenza” recites a story of people who try to buy their feelings but either feel lonely or have tough home lives. The song points out that money can not solve everything and only offers a temporary solution for happiness.
While only lasting for under a minute, “(Can We Be Friends?)” depicts Gray’s loneliness yet again in the album. Gray wants a friend he can connect with. He longs for someone he can have a mutual trust and understanding with. Anyone who has ever felt lonely can find something to relate to in the song.
Gray expresses his feelings of jealousy in “Heather.” The person Gray loves is in love with someone named Heather. Gray goes on to sing about his feelings of inferiority to Heather. He does not understand why the person he loves would pursue him because Gray does not think he is as good as Heather. Listeners can hear the pain and jealousy in Gray’s voice as he sings this great yet depressing song.
In “Little League,” Gray reflects on his youth. He sings about wishing he was still a child and playing with friends before life became too stressful. While offering relatability to listeners, “Little League” is an anthem for growing up and missing the feeling of childhood.
The album comes to a conclusion with “The Story.” Before the song officially released, Gray would perform it on his tour. Gray ties up the story told throughout Kid Krow by recounting on when he and his friends would plan out how life would work. Gray explains how he gets to perform like he always wanted and how life worked out for him. However, he does not know how his friends’ lives turned out and he hopes for the best for them. “The Story” concludes the album by giving listeners hope.
Gray did an excellent job on Kid Krow. The sad album tells a story of someone who feels like a second choice but has friends who are always there for them. The album reminds listeners that there are people who care and will always be there for them. Kid Krow is a great album to listen to if one is going through a heartbreak.
Album: Kid Krow
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Price: $8.10 on Amazon