If you have roughly 1.7 million subscribers in your Youtube channel before you even released your debut record, this sounds like an interesting story. It is the story of Conan Gray, who made it big as a vlogger. Gray also started a music career recently – and after I heard some tunes of his debut Kid Krow, I felt it is worth sharing it with you. The album has been released on 20th March 2020.
Conan Gray – About The Artist
Conan Lee Gray was born on 5th December 1998 in Lemon Grove at the Northeastern tip of San Diego, California. However, he spent parts of his childhood in Hiroshima, Japan, where is family is originally from – he even used to speak Japanese, but lost that when the family moved back to California after some two years. He moved to Texas, which is also a significant part of his vlog. Gray’s Youtube channel exists since 2013. There have always been some musical parts on the vlog, so that it was not too surprising when he released Idle Town, his debut single, in March 2017. Youtube and Spotify combined only, the track has been streamed over 25 million times. He released another signle, Grow, before his debut EP Sunset Season, which has been released on 16th November 2018. The EP placed second in the US Heat charts.Gray supported Panic! at the Disco on their 2019 tour. His immense popularity is underlined that in early 2020, when some of the Kid Krow songs were already available, he was one of the most streamed artists on Spotify.
Conan Gray – Kid Krow – Track by Track
Kid Krow has 12 tracks (not all are songs, see below). The total playing time is 33 minutes. Five of the tracks have already been released as single.
1. Comfort Crowd
Comfort Crowd is a song about the need of friendship in tough situations. It is a very well produced pop track – the first one which was completed for the album as well. Quite nice lyrics as well.
I just needed company now Yeah, I just needed someone around Yeah, I don’t care what song that we play Or mess that we make Just company now
2. Wish You Were Sober
Gray released this track just a couple of days before the album release. It is a very strong and powerful pop track. Love listen to it.
Nooo, it’s not the Michael Sembello one. The style of Maniac is similar to the tracks before, straight, well produced pop tracks with good lyrics telling small town life episodes. The topic here is a bit of weird, but the light and happy way Gray presents it definitely makes me smile.
Tell all of your friends that I’m crazy and drive you mad That I’m such a stalker, a watcher, a psychopath And tell them you hate me and dated me just for laughs So, why do you call me and tell me you want me back? You maniac
4. (Online Love)
This one, (Oline Love) and the ninth track are just short musical intermissions between the songs. I just ignore them for my review – which also means that they are not really adding atmosphere to the record.
Checkmate is very rhythmic, but the chorus even has a touch of an Alternative Rock song. I like this contrast – even though Gray’s voice feels a bit weak in the quiet passages.
6. The Cut That Always Bleeds
The Cut That Always Bleeds is a slow ballad. A bit too strong background vocals to me in the chorus, but overall another nice to listen to track.
7. Fight or Flight
From the musical perspective, Fight or Flight is one of the best tracks of the album to me. It feels very modern on the one side, but could be a classic rock track here and there as well. The recording is also giving the track a bit of a classic touch. One of my favs!
I have to admit that I initially understood Influencer when I listened to the track, preparing the structure of this review. Affluenza is a slow, but quite groovy track. Again, I feel for the quiet moments, Gray’s voice lacks a bit of power and preciseness, but the composition and arrangement compensates quite a lot of that and turns it into a nice song.
9. (Can We Be Friends?)
A short guitar-supported piece, which is again just 57 seconds long between two songs. Deserves the “Explicit” marking on Amazon Music (no more comment on it… 🙂 ).
Conan Gray describes this song as one of the most intense of the album to him. One of his friends was in love with a girl called Heather – and thus, he had no chance to win his heart. A very intimate track, indeed.
11. Little League
Little League is not too much a baseball song, but more a song dealing with the fear of growing up. I like the powerful arrangement and the rock-alike elements of the song. I like the lyrics as well.
Could I get a rewind? Get another chance, take it back in time ‘Cause I don’t know what to do With everything I’m goin’ through And where did all my friends go? Standin’ on our street, but nobody’s home Swore we’d never move away But now I’m going 95 on the interstate
12. The Story
The album finishes like quite many US produced albums: with a quiet and intense farewell ballad. Well done, Mr Gray!
Conan Gray – Kid Krow – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget for Conan Cray’s debut album:
Conan Gray – Kid Krow – My View
I’m impressed. If a social media star is deciding to go for music, you can justify a wide range of expectation – from magnificent to terrible. Conan Gray’s Kid Krow is neither of them, but definitely on the positive side of pop music life. 33 minutes of nice to listen to songs and great stories. Congrats!
Conan Gray – European Tour
Conan Gray is scheduled to have a European tour in late April and May. Due to the Corona crises, I assume that all concerts have to be rescheduled. Thus, I do not post the tour dates here.