Review: The Story is sadly nostalgic
Conan Gray follows news of his first album with new song that's a flicker of the past
January 23, 2020
After the announcement of his debut album, Kid Krow, Conan Gray released a single, “The Story” which will act as the album’s closing song. While it hadn’t been released on any music platforms before, Gray’s performed it on his Comfort Crowd tour throughout October and November. Unlike the first three songs that have been released from the album, the singer strays away from the more vengeful theme directed at whomever his crush is.
Gray’s “The Story” mellows down what we’ve heard from the album so far, which is likely why the singer picked it as the closing track. The song covers more about Gray’s childhood and how he struggled growing up. “[I] wrote this song in bed at a pretty low point this past year…but somehow through writing songs, through making friends who also had f*cked up weird childhoods, I kept pushing on,” Gray said on Instagram after the song’s debut. The strum of his guitar gets nostalgic for those who watched the singer on YouTube when he was still making fun videos and song covers.
The singer establishes a campfire story type vibe when he slips in the overview of “The Story” in the first verse of his song, where “let me tell you a story about a boy and a girl,” is likely about some of his childhood friends who helped him push through a tough life at home. Gray connects himself with his friends through their twisted struggles around town and how without each other, it may have led to their downfalls.
While his own sexuality remains unknown, Gray’s always been expressive in his support of the LGBTQ+ community. The second verse of “The Story” focuses on either him, or someone he knows and another boy who struggled with their identities due to the the judgement of the community around them and never realized their true feelings until they each left. His frustration in never realizing their feelings reminds me of previous single “The King,” which is more about regrets from childhood.
Although he’s talked about how he and his friends struggled in their youth, his chorus is more about moving forward and past all that pain. Gray pushes away the sadness from the first part of the song with hope for his future as he “think[s] that it could work… it’s not the end of the story,” which turns away from the agony of the “old” Gray. Gray has discussed on social media of how he doesn’t quite miss his “old” self, who was in a lot of pain and wanted to make it all end.
Gray extends his hopefulness onto his friends and how he’s hoping that they’ve been able to heal newly prosper in their lives outside the wretched world they had to live in as kids. After he turned from wallowing in the despair of childhood, his third verse continues to look out for a brighter future, more specifically one of his friends, to whom he “wonder[s] if she’s alright.”
The song finishes softly and reminds us of where Gray started and came from as well as where he is now. It’s expected that Kid Krow will be more insightful of his past and how he’s moved on from the trauma. The similarity of “The Story” and the singer’s earlier works contradicts each other in how much Gray’s grown away from the pain he suffered. It’s a sweet tune paired with a bigger, sadder picture that not everyone knows the story behind it, but will likely be explored through the rest of the album.
Jennifer Le is a Freshman Staff Writer for Knight Writers and RHSToday. She prefers being referred to as "Jenny" by the people she meets. Outside of school,...