Photo: Dillon Matthews
Conan Gray is without a doubt Gen Z’s pop star. From releasing his first single in 2018 to preparing to make his Coachella debut this year, the last two years have seen Gray grow by leaps and bounds. And that sonic and artistic evolution shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, or at least that is the feeling we get listening to his latest single.
“The Story” arrives in stark contrast to Gray’s previous single “Maniac,” which was an unbridled moment of euphoric catharsis that became a veritable TikTok hit. On the other hand, “The Story” is Gray’s most subdued song to date, opting for the power of soft-spoken storytelling. A nearly entirely acoustic affair, outside of a monumental swell that marks the song’s climax, there is a striking element to the level of candor on display.
Shifting between first and third person, “The Story” unfolds like a somber jaunt. Weaving together intimate stories that belong to both Gray and his friends, the narrative begins to coalesce, weaving together a story of how our seemingly personal experiences live on in those we hold closest. Yes, “The Story” showcases a softer side to Gray, but more than anything, it is an illustration of just how varied this pop star in the making truly is.
Along with the new single comes news of Gray’s highly-anticipated debut album. Kid Krow is set to release March 20, and, in addition to “The Story” will include previously released singles “Maniac,” “Comfort Crowd,” and “Checkmate.” Gray spoke further on the forthcoming album, sharing,
“The record is a study of how I perceive the world. I talk a lot about my friends and people I’ve met touring over the past year. It’s me. I’m not the coolest person, but the album is me accepting the fact I’m weird and I don’t need to be anybody else. It’s also a chance to encourage others to embrace who they are and be unapologetic about it.”
Listen to “The Story” below: