Conan Gray’s Superache is an immaculate embodiment of the complexity of love, unreal in its accuracy

The cover of Conan Grays newest album, forever imbued in my memory.

The cover of Conan Gray’s newest album, forever imbued in my memory.

I once laid in my bed and listened to “Heather” aspiring to be the girl depicted in the song. She was everything I’d wanted to be. In loving the song itself, I became immediately captivated by the musical genius of Conan Gray, considering the complex meaning of every song he’d written. His 2020 album Kid Krow was so incredibly emotional and mesmerizing that when he’d announced the release of his follow-up album, Superache, I knew it would be an experience beyond even my wildest expectations. 

Released on June 24, 2022, Superache runs for 40 minutes and 22 seconds; just about enough time to truly imbibe every word. Each of the 12 tracks depicts a different aspect of the simultaneous pain and passion associated with love in a way so meticulous, it will indefinitely be unparalleled in my mind.

Track 1: “Movies” 

The first notes of the entire album reverberate in the mind of the listener as an echoing Gray sings, “Movies, movies / I want a love like the movies.” He narrates a scenario in which he’s so enamored with someone that everything is essentially infinite and pure, but it’s revealed to all be a fantasy. Through the song, he references the idea of love in the movies in comparison to the “love” he has in his relationship. He imagines love as a pure, perfect fantasy, whereas, in reality, for him, it’s nothing like that. Highlighting the toxicity of his real relationship, he thoroughly imbues the pain of this realization as he repeats, “But we know that’s not what we’re doing / ‘Cause, baby, this ain’t like the movies.” He juxtaposes the two sentiments in such a way that the epiphany isn’t just his anymore; It’s mine, too. In one verse towards the end, Gray goes on a tangent in which he tells of the circumstances that made him fully aware of the fact that it wasn’t healthy, and the pain is clearly audible in his voice. I never hesitate to cry during this song, and it’s such a truly and deeply emotional piece to listen to. 

Track 2: “People Watching”

“People Watching” is a song about the pain attached to being surrounded by people in love. One of the singles off of the album, it follows a working Gray in a cafe, carefully watching the behaviors of the couples in the vicinity. The lyrics in this song are immaculate in their universal ability to resonate in the mind of the listener. He describes the things he hears in various conversations: he speaks of the happiness shared among people near him. The chorus includes the lines, “I want to feel all the love and emotion / Be that attached to the person I’m holding / Someday I’ll be falling without caution / But for now, I’m only people watching.” Similarly to “Movies,” he explains the aspects of a relationship that he longs to have, and as he compares his fantasy to reality, he never fails to hold 100% of my attention. 

Track 3: “Disaster” 

Immediately upon hearing the song, it’s clear that the energy of it is drastically different from the previous two. Upbeat and much more of a dancey tune, “Disaster” is primarily about the amount of confusion and panic about every possibility in a new relationship. Gray poses potential circumstances in which something goes very wrong, and the relationship turns into, interestingly enough, a disaster. In the chorus, he says, “What if you freak out / And then we’re losin’ it all at the critical chapter / Where I say, “I love you” and you don’t say it after? / This could be a disaster.” These lyrics show the complexity of thought associated with any relationship, and the panic—justifiable or otherwise—often present. 

Track 4: “Best Friend”

Perhaps the most unconventionally endearing song on the album, “Best Friend” is about exactly what it seems to be: the love that Gray has for his best friend. In one verse, he says, “Cause I hate, like, everyone except for you / Who else is gonna grocery shop with me at 2 AM?” This line is my favorite in the song. It shows the simultaneous mischief and purity held in the friendship: the no-nonsense aspect of Gray’s personality being disregarded to do childish things together just for the sake of their shared happiness.

Track 5: “Astronomy”

There are a few songs on this album that I will forever have an unbreakable bond with, and this is one of those songs. As an early release single from May, “Astronomy” was immediately adored by millions, myself included. Gray, upon releasing the song, admitted that this song “is a very precious and fragile piece of [his] soul.” The song itself is about the grueling process of inevitably growing distant from someone. The slow, seemingly incessant hurt of looking at somebody crucial to your life and realizing they’re hardly the same person as they once were. Though nearly impossible for me to choose, possibly one of my favorite bits of the song is, “You’re pointing at stars in the sky that already died / Stop trying to keep us alive / You can’t force the stars to align when they’ve already died,” because it perfectly exemplifies the fact that it’s so easy to try and force love to succeed. It’s so easy to create a facade in a relationship, even when, in the words of Conan Gray, “[you’re] two worlds apart.” Unfortunately, however, love is not so simple, and Gray is unmatched in his elucidation of this sense. 

Track 6: “Yours”

In “Yours,” Gray describes the utter pain and humiliation involved with being, for lack of a better word, friend-zoned. He recalls his experience of being used and overlooked by someone special to him. The opening verse contains the lyrics, “And you’re somebody I’ll never really know / I know I’m not the one you really love.” The more I listen to this song, the harder it hits me; the concept of wanting more from any given person and being denied that validation for so long and in such a prominent way is heartbreaking. The line that wrecks me the most, though, is when he says, “All the things that I’ve done / For you not to notice,” because he so simply states such a conflicting feeling and I am in awe of his talent in this sense. This is a roller coaster of emotions: the realization that he’s simply a side character in this person’s story is just another heartbreaking awareness for Gray and the listener alike.

“Each of the 12 tracks depicts a different aspect of the simultaneous pain and passion associated with love in a way so meticulously that it will indefinitely be unparalleled in my mind.”

Track 7: “Jigsaw”

Another one of my favorites on the album, also released as a single, is “Jigsaw.” In “Jigsaw,” we are exposed to the idea of Gray as a jigsaw puzzle in his own eyes. He essentially is so caught up in love that he would change anything for this person, but by the end, he doesn’t recognize himself. He continues on about how he’d do anything to please that person. He says, “I’ve changed every part of me / Until the puzzle pieces aren’t me at all / I look in the mirror, now I’m just a jigsaw,” and this hits me like a bag of bricks time and time again. Gray speaks to the fact that, at this point in time, he would do anything for his love, even change every piece of who he is as a person. Admittedly, I understand this feeling, which is likely why I love the song so much.

Track 8: “Family Line”

This song is about Gray’s traumatic childhood with an abusive father. There are so many layers to this track and it’s awe-inspiring to me. I can’t choose a mere few lines from this song because they’re all gut-wrenching. He speaks of his shame in certain pieces of his family line, the most prominent being that of his father. In the chorus, Gray explains how his ability to lie believably comes from his mother’s side and later, shares that he has his father’s eyes. What’s interesting about this is the idea that the only piece of his father that Gray sees in himself is a physical trait and even that disgusts him. I can’t even begin to express my emotion for this song, but I can positively say that it’s one of the most hard-hitting on the album. 

Track 9: “Summer Child” 

Like “Family Line,” “Summer Child” references the effect trauma can have on any given person. This track is about the concept of trauma survivors putting others in front of themselves in certain circumstances. The whole song is about the facade that one can put up rather than admitting their pain. Though every single line is masterfully written, the lyric that absolutely shatters my heart is, “Aren’t you way too busy / Taking care of everybody / To take care of yourself?” It resonates with me on an entirely different level, and this song will always hold such a high place in my heart.

Track 10: “Footnote”

“Footnote” is yet another song about such an unrequited love where Gray became more of a footnote in his love interest’s story rather than “part of the novel.” It makes me think of “Yours” and “Jigsaw” put together, simply because of the unreciprocated love he has for this person and the things he’s willing to do for them. In the chorus, he sings, “Every line I would write for you / But a footnote will do,” showing his dedication—and subsequent resentment—to his place in this person’s story. In short, the tenth track on this album is another which will remain unparalleled in its own category in my mind. 

Track 11: “Memories” 

“Memories” is the perfect embodiment of the failure to receive closure. Gray opens the song with the idea of a couple of months passing since he’s communicated with the person he had once been with. Throughout the whole song, he explains the fact that he wants to gain closure, but they won’t allow for that. He pushes them off while he can, but the person keeps coming back. I can’t choose my favorite lyric because they’re all incredible. A particularly touching one is, “You see, it’s hard to find an end to something that you keep beginning / Over, and over again,” because it shows his need for closure, but also the consequent inability to maintain that because of this person’s persistent actions.

Track 12: “The Exit”

Yet another unrequited love song, “The Exit” is one about the person Gray loves being in love with someone else. Upon my first hearing of this song, the one line that stuck out to me was, “You already found someone to miss / While I’m still standin’ at the exit.” Gray remains loyal to the person featured in the songs, but they seem to hurt him every chance they get. Aside from the lyrics, the song is in the perfect placement in the lineup. Closing the album, “The Exit,” allows the listener to feel every bit of lament that Conan Gray felt, himself, and it ties all of the tracks together amazingly. 

All in all, Gray has so much love for this person and assuming it’s the same person as in the rest of the album’s songs, they hurt him so much. It’s truly an admirable album in its complex nature, and I wholeheartedly recommend this album—and Conan Gray as an artist in general—with my entire being.