Conan Gray’s long awaited sophomore studio album Superache is finally here, and it’s a massive leap in the right direction. The 23-year-old singer who started out on YouTube has shown an incredible bit of growth with this project- maturing as a songwriter and showing a vast improvement in his vocal ability as well. While I’ve always had respect for Gray and his pen, the production on previous projects sometimes left me wanting more and this album finally feels like his lyrics are met with their harmonious equals. Now let’s break it down!
Superache is a tale of love and heartbreak- telling stories of unrequited love, childhood trauma, and the impact they can have on one’s life. It’s heartbreaking and dramatic as hell, leaving you in its wake as Conan opens up about the experiences that have nearly broken him.
On opening track “Movies” he fantasizes about the kinds of love seen on screen, wishing him and his partner could have an unbreakable bond instead of feeling merely what they lack. No relationship is ever perfect, and yet we all search for that idealized love we grow up watching in films. Perhaps it’s a bit unrealistic but it teaches you what you truly deserve- which Conan recognizes when comparing his relationship to the ones he’s grown up watching. “In my head, we never grow apart, in my head, you never break my heart, but we know that’s not what we’re doing, ’cause baby, this ain’t like the movies,” he sings on the chorus and sets the tone for what’s to come with the rest of the album.
Another album standout is the newest single “Disaster” which is one of the very few up-tempo tracks on this project. The track represents the panic that ensues when contemplating over what will happen if you confess your feelings for someone. Conan captures the spiraling panic perfectly with collaborator Julia Michaels as well, imagining the worst-case scenario if he confesses his love for his crush. “There’s so many factors, like 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,” he sings on the chorus of the all too relatable track. It’s a moment we’ve all found ourselves in at one point or another and despite the frustration this describes, the production is bouncy and pure pop perfection.
“Family Line” is by far, the album’s most personal and heartbreaking track- detailing Gray’s childhood and relationship between his parents. Conan describes the feeling of growing up within this trauma and how it has molded him into who he is today, recognizing the parts of his parents that he sees within himself and how he has tried to unlearn the toxic patterns. “All of my past, I tried to erase it, but now I see, would I even change it? Might share a face and share a last name but we are not the same,” the bridge brings to light a sense of catharsis within Conan. It’s poignant and the production is absolute perfection- I dare anyone to listen to it without getting full body chills.
It would be impossible to review this album and not talk about “Astronomy” which came out over a year ago and still feels just as fresh as the first listen. To put it simply, it’s one of those songs that haunts you to your core and leaves you coming back for more pain every single time. The production builds so beautifully by the time it reaches the bridge as Conan sings about the fear of losing his friendship with his best friend and not having this bond someday. “You can’t force the stars to align when they’ve already died,” he recognizes how it would be perfect if all of the conditions would be ideal to revive their relationship but it’s not something they have any control over when there’s nothing keeping them together.
Much of the beauty and pain of Superache relies on the fact that nothing lasts forever- whether it’s the love between 2 people, the ache from a relationship ending, or the trauma taught to us at a young age. There’s a poignant beauty to every feeling and experience, an opportunity to learn and grow from it all. And while life can hurt you and bring you to your lowest point, it’s that ache that reminds you you’re alive.
Superache is out now on all streaming platforms!