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SINGLE REVIEW: Conan Gray – The Story

A refreshing return to his old style.

Conan Gray - The Story (2020 Republic Records)

Conan Gray’s popularity over the last couple of years has exploded, making many wonder when he was going to release his debut album. FEAR NOT! Earlier last week he finally announced via social media that his debut album Kid Krow will be coming out on March 20th and as a treat to fans also released the closing single from the upcoming album; a ballad-esque song titled ‘The Story’. The song is a shift in sound and style from his latest super-pop single ‘Maniac’ and his bass driven tune ‘Comfort Crowd’, both of which are songs that will be featured in the debut album.

'The Story' is a return to Gray’s early style making listeners like myself long for songs like ‘Idle Town’ or ‘The Other Side’, but with a much darker reflective tone over Gray’s hometown and past. The guitar it begins with is familiar, the background vocal harmonies we have already heard from Gray, the bass feels like an old friend welcoming you. The musical elements are all a continuation of Gray’s earlier style that I had been missing, as ever since the release of ‘The King’, all of his songs had not sat right with me, coming across as too mainstream 'pop' and almost forgettable.

In ‘The Story’ however, Gray’s voice is THE highlight; it sounds so much clearer, a lot stronger and with confidence that he has acquired over the years. You can feel the emotion in every word he sings or speaks. The chorus is poignant, catchy and hits the right spots of what a bittersweet ballad should make a listener feel. The stories Gray sings to us feel real because of the loaded emotion he brings into his song writing and instrumentalization. Nonetheless, the ballad has a very simple flaw which I have realised many pop songs (and more generally most western modern music tends to do) instead of building a mostly natural crescendo with the instrumentation and voice, they just start adding more and more instruments and layers in order to create a crescendo.

Even with its flaw, Gray’s ‘The Story’ is a super enjoyable teaser into his debut album, pleasing old fans like myself and making us await until the album’s full release. Just as he sings in the post-chorus ‘It’s not the end of the story’ for Conan Gray this release marks the real beginning of his musical career.


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Guille Fernandez is music lover who studied the cello for almost 10 years before moving to the UK to study English literature at King's College, London.


Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in London, England. Subscribe to our mailing list below to be alerted every time a post is published on the site.

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