Conan Gray’s debut album ‘Kid Krow’ vocalizes the struggles of growing up


“Kid Crow” by Conan Gray, which was released March 20, has streamed over 92 million times online. “‘Kid Krow’ combines Gray’s unique style of songwriting, using pop, indie and throwback sounds to create a variety of songs with multiple unique storylines,” sophomore reviewer Christi Norris said. In the article, Norris reviews track-by-track of Gray’s debut studio album containing 12 songs.

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Native Texan singer-songwriter and YouTuber Conan Gray released his debut studio album titled “Kid Krow” March 20. “Kid Krow” demonstrates Gray’s unique style of songwriting, which combines pop, indie and throwback sounds, to create a variety of songs with a variety of storylines.

Gray gained a following on YouTube while in high school and released his songs on the platform, as well. After moving to Los Angeles, he debuted the extended-play “Sunset Season in November 2018, which reached No. 2 on the “Billboard U.S. Top Heatseekers list.” With his newest release, Gray already has reached 92 million online streams and has peaked at No. 7 on the worldwide “iTunes Album Chart.” Kid Krow is an album for every teenager who doesn’t feel like they quite fit in. Gray’s lyrics in all 12 songs are something anyone who is or was a teenager can relate to. He makes the album an emotional experience for every listener. 

Setting the tone for the whole album, Gray leads with the song “Comfort Crowd,” which begins slowly with an emphasis on the song’s lyrics more than its instrumentals. The lyrics about loneliness and feeling lost in a new and unfamiliar phase of life draw the listener into the story of the whole album. 

Gray follows with “Wish You Were Sober,” an upbeat tune with emotional lyrics. In this fast-paced song, he remembers the mistakes of his teenage years with love and life. Specifically recalling a time someone professed their love to him while intoxicated, and how he wishes things would’ve gone differently. 

Gray describes his next song, “Maniac,” as a “cathartic post-break-up song dedicated to psychotic exes.” The fast-paced tune paired with a nostalgic feel is perfect for those times when the people around you act like maniacs. 

(Online Love)” is Gray’s shortest song – only 37 seconds long. Despite its length, it packs a big punch about the digital world that we live in and what we choose to do inside of it. 

Checkmate” is a fast-paced song about getting revenge. This tune is perfect for screaming in the car because of its upbeat chorus and memorable lyrics. Gray talks about how he’s “gotten tired” of the games people have played with his heart and how he isn’t going to let them hurt him anymore. Despite its ominous lyrics, “Checkmate” is a song that everyone can empathize with. 

With his next ballad, “The Cut that Always Bleeds,” Gray opens up about the pains of breaking up with someone and then letting them back in. He uses the metaphor of a cut that always bleeds to show how someone can hurt you over and over again with no remorse. This tear-jerking tune is best listened to with a box of tissues nearby.

In the next song, “Fight or Flight,” he uses a combination of volumes and styles of music to show the contrast of fight versus flight. The alternating tunes and lyrics describe the difficulty of showing emotions and keep the listener engaged through the entire song.  

The album continues with “Affluenza,” a song about how wealth affects teenagers. This relatable tune describes how money can make teenagers act recklessly and prioritize drugs, alcohol and expensive cars over being genuine. 

(Can We Be Friends?)” is a song about the importance of having a best friend. At only 57 seconds long, this song takes just a few lines to display how Gray feels toward his best friend and what their relationship means to him. He says plainly that if anyone messes with his best friend, they mess with him too. 

Heather” is a song in which Gray opens up about being in love with someone who is in love with another person. Heather is a slow song that every listener can relate to how he is feeling through the emotion-charged lyrics. 

The second-to-last song in the album is “Little League,” in which Conan reminisces about how simple life was when he was younger. He takes a look back at his life, wishing he would have appreciated being a young and free kid while he could. Gray’s powerful lyrics about not wanting to grow up, and wishing he could live just a little longer as a kid, allows listeners of all ages to remember how they felt when they were younger and empathize with his message. 

Gray concludes the album with “The Story,” which originally released as a single. Fans raved about the song, feeling as if they could relate to every word. In this finale, he tells the story of his difficult childhood and how he just accepted the way the world works. This anthem calls the listener to think about how the world needs a little more love and a little less hate. In the beginning, Gray sounds discouraged, but as the tune concludes he notes that the world may be a cruel place, but he’s going to do his part to make things better. 

To all of Conan Gray’s fans, “Kid Krow” is more than an album. It’s an experience. Every song from beginning to end has a message that everyone can feel is made for them. This emotion-fueled soundtrack stands out from the crowd and is unable to fit into any boxes, yet, relatable in every way.