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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Conan Gray sets bar for albums to come

Kid Krow, Conan Grays first album was released March 2020. Before the albums release, however, he released an EP, Sunset Season, and posted severaal covers and original songs on YouTube.
Emmalee Martyak
“Kid Krow,” Conan Gray’s first album was released March 2020. Before the album’s release, however, he released an EP, “Sunset Season,” and posted severaal covers and original songs on YouTube.

For three years now, Conan Gray has topped my Spotify Wrapped, and I’ve been in love with his music for much longer. In all honesty, pop music isn’t my favorite genre, but there’s something about Gray’s music that sets it apart from much of the rest of the music currently on the radio. 

In his 2020 debut album, “Kid Krow,” Conan Gray explores his childhood, adolescents and first loves in song. From the slower sadder pop of the opening track, “Comfort Crowd,” to the more upbeat “Maniac,” Gray conveys a different emotion with each of the 12 tracks on his debut album. 

1. “Comfort Crowd-” 9/10

Favorite Line: “But you say through a sigh that I said that lie already”

Thoughts: In my opinion, “Comfort Crowd” is the best song of the 12 on “Kid Krow” to open with, as it does a fantastic job of setting the tone for the rest of the album. The song starts off slowly, then moves into a more upbeat, but still sad, section and finishes with the initial mood of the song. “Comfort Crowd” is all about a time in someone’s life when what they needed more than anything was for someone to be there for them, but there wasn’t anyone there. 

2. “Wish You Were Sober-” 8/10

Favorite Line: “Take me where the music ain’t too loud”

Thoughts: I don’t know if “Wish You Were Sober” is the best follow up to the opening track, but I couldn’t imagine this album being configured any other way. “Wish You Were Sober” is probably one of the most upbeat songs on “Kid Krow,” focusing on the party scene for young people, and how some may feel that what everyone else is into isn’t for them. It also has messages of authenticity, and wanting to know someone’s feeling are genuine and not being influenced by anything else. 

3. “Maniac-” 7/10

Favorite Line: “Listen to yourself, think you need to get some help”

Thoughts: Of the songs on “Kid Krow,” “Maniac” is one of the two that got popular from TikTok. I can admit that “Maniac” is an amazing song, and I understand why it got popular. It’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album, and it’s very catchy. 

4. “(Online Love)-” 8/10

Favorite Line: “I can’t help but imagine what maybe could’ve happened if we weren’t just an online love”

Thoughts: “(Online Love)” is the first, and probably my favorite, of the two interludes on this album. In only 37 seconds, Gray manages to convey a story that most of today’s young people have probably gone through at some point: falling for someone you can’t be with. Whether it be physically, like in the song, or because of conflicting emotions, most people have felt for someone that they can’t be with. I also love that most of Gray’s songs, especially “(Online Love),” can be interpreted for different kinds of relationships. “(Online Love)” may have originally been about a romantic relationship, but it serves the same purpose when it is interpreted to be about friendship. 

5. “Checkmate-” 9/10

Favorite Line: “Cry me a river till you drown in a lake”

Thoughts: When “Kid Krow” was first released, “Checkmate” was, without question, my favorite song on the album. I still think that it is an amazing song, but I think that I’ve overplayed too much for myself and can’t really enjoy it as I once did. Even though it isn’t my favorite of the album anymore, I still love “Checkmate,” and I think that it puts an amazing twist on the commonly covered idea of ending up with someone who is in love with someone else. 

6. “The Cut That Always Bleeds-” 9/10

Favorite Line: “But even though you’re killing me, I need you like the air I breathe”

Thoughts: “The Cut That Always Bleeds” is the song that I definitely overlooked at first, and have since come back around to. I think “The Cut That Always Bleeds” perfectly sums up what it feels like to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t contributing any of their attention, but expects to be their partner’s top priority at all times. From the lyrics to the sound itself, “The Cut That Always Bleeds” does great at conveying the feeling of resentful dependence, and that has made it one of my favorite songs on the album

7. “Fight or Flight-” 10/10

Favorite Line: “Fight or flight, I’d rather die than have to cry in front of you”

Thoughts: “Fight or Flight” is probably my favorite song on the album. It’s upbeat, but in a way that has a rock feel to it. “Fight or Flight” is placed perfectly in the order of songs, and it has a message that I don’t think is too often seen about falling for someone that the person in the song doesn’t actually want to fall for. 

8. “Affluenza-” 10/10

Favorite Line: “They say ‘money can’t buy you no love,’ but a diamond cheers you right up”

Thoughts: Unlike most of the songs on “Kid Krow,” “Affluenza” doesn’t really have an aspect of love to it. Instead, it deals with the ever present high school feeling of envy. “Affluenza” is probably the most relatable of the songs in this album for me, as I’ve had my fair share of wanting what others have, while simultaneously wanting nothing to do with them. 

9. “(Can We Be Friends?)-” 6/10

Favorite Line: “We’re driving every night, stare at people that we like”

Thoughts: The second interlude on “Kid Krow,” “(Can We Be Friends?)” is one of the more overlooked songs on the album, but I feel that it is an amazing song that depicts a very relatable story of longing for friendship that a lot of high schoolers experience. 

10. “Heather-” 8/10

Favorite Line: “Why would you ever kiss me, I’m not even half as pretty?”

Thoughts: “Heather” is the most popular song on “Kid Krow,” and I understand why. It’s very catchy and relatable. It goes against a lot of energetic pop to tell a slow and very well written story of longing for someone who is in love with someone else. 

11. “Little League-” 9/10

Favorite Line: “Swore we’d never more away, but now I’m going 95 on the interstate”

Thoughts: When I first listened to “Kid Krow,”  I expected “Little League” to be the song that got popular, and I’m still surprised that it didn’t. “Little League” is centered on the idea of growing up and moving away from everything, while still appreciating childhood and the experiences it offers. “Little League” is also the song most similar to Gray’s debut EP, “Sunset Season.”


Emmalee Martyak

12. “The Story-” 8/10

Favorite Line: “Just wait and see, it’s not the end of the story”

Thoughts: The perfect way to conclude this emotional rollercoaster of an album. “The Story” features three separate stories about growing up surrounded by different pressures, but staying positive and making a better life. I think that “The Story” was Gray’s way of leaving the album on a positive, more optimistic note. 

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About the Contributor
Emmalee Martyak
Emmalee Martyak, Reporter
Hi! I'm Emmalee Martyak, a freshman reporter for the Mountain Echo. For as long as I can remember, I've loved writing. Last year, I joined the Livewire staff, and, after falling in love with reporting, decided to join the staff this year. Besides writing, I also love music. I'll listen to just about anything, but my favorite artists are Conan Gray, Taylor Swift, Hozier and the Waterparks. I also love all kinds of movies, and some favorites are "Mean Girls," "Edward Scissorhands" and just about any Adam Sandler movie. Some of my other hobbies are painting, baking and reading.

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