Conan Gray is a rising artist in music. With good reason. His stuff is good. He’s got a unique and recognizable voice. He writes relatable lyrics. His melodies are catchy and easy to get into. And while he’s got this slight shy kid thing going on, he’s also got this larger than life persona thing going on too. To put it simply, Conan Gray is set to be a star, more than he is right now. His debut album Kid Krow is a big indicator of what’s to come, it’s an album that’s prime polished pop and delivers on all of the expectations that were facing Gray up to this point.
When listening through Kid Krow the thing that’s the most striking is Gray’s lyrical prowess. His lyrics are mostly personal and focus on some story telling elements about relationship. And that’s cool, it’s not exactly a new concept, but it’s an intertwined part of music because it’s the most relatable thing. The messages aren’t that unique, but the way that Gray writes lyrics is unique. It’s alternative/indie/pop with country music storytelling from the viewpoint of a 20 something who writes lyrics like he spent his formative years listening to emo music. And that combination is kind of amazing. It works for Gray and it works all over this album.
The songwriting is the best thing about Kid Krow, but after that there’s a lot to like with Gray’s vocal performance. He has a wide range and he can sing soft and sweet or loud and fun. He can cover that spectrum and he has his own flare for the dramatic. Again, it’s just an odd combination that wouldn’t be the first thing you think of, but it works.
The production here is also a bit of a star. There’s a lot of nuances that are added to really bring a lot of personality to Gray’s distinctive way of writing lyrics and melodies. There aren’t a lot of things that really make this music standout in that element, but there’s not really meant to be. This is a pop record through and through and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not really something you can’t rant and rave about either.
Conan Gray comes onto the scene with his debut LP at probably the worst time, but it really doesn’t matter. This is still going to get streamed millions of times and there’s going to be all kinds of demo groups getting hooked to several different songs here. It’s a pop record, but it’s also a good record too. To see someone, deliver on this kind of potential with an LP that’s this good is awesome. Gray’s music is solid and this album is too, give it a listen if you haven’t.