Conan Gray is known for his buoyant, often sad signature sound that is a cross between confessional indie pop and dance jams. Initially gaining popularity through his YouTube channel, Gray amassed a dedicated audience for his original electronic and acoustic inspired songs. He released his first EP with hits like Crush Culture and Generation Why introducing his music style to the rest of the world. His debut album, Kid Krow, rocked the world in 2020, peaking at number five on the US Billboard 200. Below, we take a look at the 10 best Conan Gray Songs of all time.
First on our list of top songs by Conan Gray is Lookalike – a melancholic song about moving one from a previous partner. The song captures the struggle of remembering the good times the narrator shared with their partner but accepting that they can no longer be together. Lookalike was part of Gray’s first EP – Sunset Season – and was released in November 2018 alongside tracks like Crush Culture.
Billboard reported the release of the Fake music video, which took place on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Fake is Conan Gray’s first collaboration with any artist and he chose Lauv – an idol of his – for the job. Generally, the guitar-led, acoustic jam is about people who focus too much on social media at the expense of real connections with people. Part of the chorus goes, “You’re so f—ing fake. You don’t mean a single thing you say.” While it deviates from Gray’s usual sound, it is a breezy tune with a colorful video and relatable message that most fans will enjoy.
8. The Story
The Story is arguably one of Conan Gray’s most emotional tracks. In it, he opens about his problematic childhood and all the unfair events he has had, including fear of being himself, self-hate, and bullying. It was released on January 10, 2020, and is a classic Conan Gray tune.
7. Crush Culture
Throughout the Crush Culture video, Conan walks through school halls, disrupting intimate moments and dates whenever he encounters them. This includes tossing picnic food in the air and trashing love letters. In an interview with The FADER, Gray explained that the song was aimed at heartbroken single people. He explained that he has never been in a relationship and, at one point, got so frustrated at seeing his friends be in relationships. Crush Culture is a raw look into teenage emotions.
Telepath was produced by Caroline Ailin, Julia Michaels, and Ilya – all exceptional artists in their own right. According to NPR, the song is about a partner who is hot-today-cold-tomorrow and engaged in an on and off relationship with the narrator. The music adopts a synth-heavy tone with dark sounds that can create a hypnotic effect. Its electro-pop vibe and the repetitive bassline are reminiscent of the ’80s.
Conan Gray directed Overdrive himself alongside Dillon Mathew. The video consists of a colorful and elaborate daydream Gray has of a perfect night between him and a stranger he spots from across the platform on a train. Starring Sara Fernández, it features dancing, cycling, neon lights, and driving at night. In an interview recorded by NME, Conan explained that the song was “about falling in love for the first time, getting your heart broken for the first time…”
4. People Watching
People Driving was produced by Dan Nigro – the genius behind SOUR, Olivia Rodrigo’s hit album. It is another pop tune aimed at Conan’s single fans and tells the story of couples visiting a café. Conan, who is a barista at the café, narrates these stories and is depicted as an outside observer. He croons, He croons, “I’ve never really been in love, not seriously…I wanna feel all that love and emotion.”
Astronomy is one of the quietest Conan Gray Songs, containing only simple melodies and strings that almost hold a country sound. The soft ballad tells the story of Gray, who is in a relationship that fails, although he and his partner should be perfect for each other. Generally, it explains how the two find out that they are incompatible and don’t have a lot in common. Some of the lyrics, “As much as it seems like you own my heart, It’s astronomy, we’re two worlds apart”, emphasize how the bond is unsalvageable.
MTV writer Madeline Roth described Maniac as a ‘total ’80s fever dream, marked by shimmering synths and quirky lyrics…’ The song, which has been certified Platinum in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Australia, is about an ex that leaves Gray both hurt and amused. It was released in early 2020 to wide success and had been streamed 50 million times on Spotify by January that year. This number rose by 40 million by April. Additionally, it went viral on TikTok, appearing on the platform’s Top 25 trending chart.
Conan Gray released Heather after releasing Kid Krow – his debut studio album. The video is directed by both Gray and Dillon Mathew and sees Gray fluctuate between masculine and feminine looks throughout the track. In an interview with V Man, Gray described the inspiration behind Heather as a time in his life when his high school crush did not reciprocate his feelings. He says, “… my crush liked a girl named Heather. Heather was everything I am not.” Upon being released, Heather went viral on TikTok and even inspired a phrase used to describe a beautiful girl that someone would like to resemble. Heather was also a commercial success and Gray’s first song to enter the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 46. It surpassed Maniac and is currently his most commercially successful single.
Conan Lee Gray is an emerging singer, songwriter that has already amassed a large following of fans with his signature melancholic and reflective tunes. Kid Krow, his debut studio album, was the biggest debut by a new artist in the United States in 2020, debuting at number 5 on the Billboard 200. Our top picks for the best Conan Gray Songs are Heather and Maniac, but all the others are so good, you will want to listen to them over and over.