Conan Gray’s evolution in music and love

Conan Gray excites fans with his second studio album “Superache” after great success with debut album. // Photo courtesy of Republic Records

In 2017, Conan Gray burst into the pop scene with his self-released EP, “Sunset Season,” a bittersweet ode to growing out of small-town life.

From there, his music has only grown more popular with the release of his debut album, “Kid Krow,” which rose to meteoric fame thanks to painstakingly relatable hits such as “Heather” and “Maniac” that blew up on TikTok.

With no signs of stopping, Gray has just released his second album, “Superache,” which has enjoyed similar success, and for good reason.

“Superache” plays to Conan Gray’s strength — his ability to capture universal experiences within a catchy refrain set to a memorable track. In “Kid Krow,” he uses this to tell a twisted love story — not one of breakups and makeups, but rather a shoutout to those in unrequited love, those stuck in relationships they know are not good for them and those being left behind.

“Superache” takes it one step further, exploring the less obvious but equally painful parts of falling in and out of love. In songs like “Memories,” Gray sings about trying to move on from the toxic relationship that punctuated “Kid Krow.”

His choice to delve into a relationship as something to learn from and grow from — rather than a stagnant, painful thing — shows a new maturity to not only Gray’s music but his perspective on love.

Other songs like “People Watching” are much closer to Gray’s older music — a sweet hopeful song with a bitter undercurrent.

Throughout the song, and honestly most of his discography, Gray reveals his true romantic notions and how he craves to fall in love, but in “People Watching,” he reveals that he knows that his own fear of heartbreak is the only thing holding him back.

Compared to “Crush Culture” on his debut EP, “People Watching” shows a new level of self-reflection in Gray’s music.

As opposed to the angry take in “Crush Culture” where Gray warns himself and his listeners that love is cheap, fake and dangerous, “People Watching” shows an evolution in thought and a more nuanced take on a topic as complicated as love.

Finally, “Family Line” — a song with a very different topic and vibe than the rest of the album — addresses Gray’s traumatic family history, a topic he has skirted around directly addressing even back in his YouTube days in 2015.

With a memorable chorus, Gray laments how he feels like he is nothing but a combination of his family and his trauma.

The song addresses how trauma, especially at a young age, reframes how he sees his entire life and how your family feels like something you can never quite escape.

Keeping “Family Line” in mind, Gray’s entire discography can be seen in a new light.

Stories of toxic relationships, unrequited love and escaping your hometown have another dimension through the lens of “Family Line” — making it a powerful song for not only “Superache,” but Gray’s entire discography.

All in all, “Superache” is an incredible album — not just for its musical merit, but for the sheer amount of evolution Gray manages to show in the span of twelve songs. Some parts do come off as repetitive and seem almost like they could just be an extension of “Kid Krow.”

However, seeing how relatively new Gray is to stardom and the music scene, as well as the remarkable progress he has already made, there is little doubt that the only direction his career has left to go is up.