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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Conan Gray’s Found Heaven: The eighties, 40 years later

Conan Gray dives into a new genre of music. Photo Credits: Conan Gray via Twitter
Bela Jotwani
Conan Gray dives into a new genre of music. Photo Credits: Conan Gray via Twitter

From heart-wrenching, sentimental beats to carnival alien sounds, Conan Gray has encapsulated the highs and lows of heartbreak in his new album “Found Heaven.” This electric, ’80s-like album reminds us of drinking a Slurpee at an arcade in “Stranger Things.”

Conan Gray, a 25-year-old YouTuber turned singer, is known for capturing Gen Z’s woes and writing lyrics that rip your heart out and stomp all over it (literally). In “Found Heaven,” he does it in a yellow and black leather jacket.

Conan’s newest album takes a leap that surprises fans and takes them on a new journey to electropop.

Gray first debuted this shift when he released “Never Ending Song,” which featured a deeper, more mature voice, surrounded by electrifying beats.

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Although Conan’s new voice horrified most, we enjoyed the deeper tones he used in this video. The low tone complemented the higher synth and beat, making a cohesive and catchy song that shouldn’t work but does.

The long-awaited album finally came out on April 5, with 4 singles and an entirely new sound. “Found Heaven” features 13 tracks total, from classic Conan ballads to electropop, all with an ’80s twist.

The first song, titled “Found Heaven,” sets the tone for the rest of the album. We were thrown off guard at first by the dark acapella, but once we kept listening, we were eased into the mood of this new musical journey.

“Found Heaven” tells a story of growth, realizing that sometimes leaving is the best choice you can make. Conan demonstrates this in a string of heart-wrenching lyrics, followed by a musical composition of reassurance through something that sounds like early ’80s disco music. Overall, we felt that this was a bizarre but perfect start to the album, encapsulating the deep heartbreak of losing someone.

Your heart is breaking as you leave that door You never meant to start this holy war But you’re trapped, pack your bags And don’t look back

— Conan Gray, Found Heaven

 

“Fainted Love,” a song about longing and unrequited love, got us in our feels. The song represents the contrast of wanting someone so much despite them pushing you away.

When your heart aches and it’s dead in the night Don’t you worry for me, it’s cool It’s enough to survive Don’t you worry, I want your fainted love That’s enough, fainted love

— Conan Gray, Fainted Love

The song ends on an unsatisfying note, settling, which is too common in modern relationships. Ouch.

The next song, “Lonely Dancers,” is the epitome of contrast. Conan sings about yearning for romantic company with a composition of upbeat and electric background music. This song is about finding comfort in each other’s pain. We thought this was a bouncy, upbeat song that could be played in the line to win a prize at a local carnival.

Your lover left you Broke up tonight My lover’s busy Kissin’ other guys, oh We’re both alone now Tears in our eyes I know the perfect way To waste our time

— Conan Gray, Lonely Dancers

This song is the epitome of what we like to call the happy/sad genre of music, or songs with sad lyrics but an upbeat melody, giving them a somewhat sarcastic or optimistic tone. We’ve noticed this in common with a lot of Gray’s music, including “The Exit” and “Movies” from Superache and “Wish You Were Sober” and “Little League” from Kid Krow. Much of the music world bops along to these songs, only to look at the lyrics and find that their favorite hype song is undeniably emo.

“Alley Rose,” a play on the UK’s Abbey Road, is yet another heartbreaking song about a lover leaving, and trying to savor every last moment. This song is upbeat, but tragically catching. Singing this in public with no background music would cause a passerby to recommend therapy. The song ends on a repetitive and catchy beat that surpasses all of our expectations.

Don’t leave me hangin’ alone again Don’t leave me hangin’ alone again Oh, where’d you go, go, Alley Rose? Oh, where’d you go, go, go?

— Conan Gray, Alley Rose

Next, “Bourgeoisieses” surprised us with an alien beat and a ballad on the wealthy written by a man worth millions. In the Gatsby-esque piece, Gray recounts his regard for the rich as a young child growing up with fluctuating financial circumstances. He even spells “Bourgoisieie” wrong to add to the ridiculousness of the song.

The song embraces maximalism and uses every sound known to man to create a distinct tone that separates this song from the rest of the album. It’s repetitive, it’s bouncy, and it’s clear Gray tapped into a new part of his brain to write this song. If you felt like grabbing a pogo stick and jumping along to the song, you’re not alone.

I want to be with the bourgeoisieses I want to see how the bourgeoisieses party all night (I) I (want) want to be with the bourgeoisieses (bourgeoisie) (I) I (want) want to see how the bourgeoisieses la-da-de-di

— Conan Gray, Bourgeoisieses

The album ends on a devastating note. “Winner,” a song about severing ties with loved ones and feeling absolute defeat is heartbreaking. This song contrasts with the rest by having sad lyrics but also an almost melancholic and nostalgic composition. Conan beautifully captures the struggles of growing up and the brutal reality of it. 

Yeah, there’s nothing That ever did quite kill me More than what you did Now you are the winner (winner) Take a bow ’cause you’re the winner

— Conan Gray, Winner

A heartbreaking song to end a heartbreaking album. “Found Heaven” by Conan Gray takes listeners on a disco of emotions. From the highs of neon red love to the lows of deep blue heartbreak, Conan put out a mix of songs that contrast production and lyrics. We thoroughly enjoyed this album, Conan’s new voice, and can’t wait to see how he shatters our hearts next. 

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About the Contributors
Naadiya Walji
Naadiya Walji, Staff Writer
Naadiya is a senior at CVHS. She is a quiet bookworm who’s favorite pastimes include reading, spending time with her cat, and drinking coffee. Interested in psychology, Naadiya looks for the deeper meaning behind everything she reads. Her favorite genre is fantasy and she cares deeply for minority representation in media. As an empath and future psychologist, Naadiya loves newspaper because it allows her to explore new topics and perspectives.  
Bela Jotwani
Bela Jotwani, Staff Writer
Bela Jotwani is a senior at Carnegie Vanguard. When not hitting the books, Bela can be found exploring the city's eclectic coffee and boba shops, curating the perfect playlist for every occasion. She’s an avid fan of "Heartstopper" and "Brooklyn 99," and her creative writing talents shine as an ENFP personality who loves to craft imaginative stories.
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