Conan Gray dips his toes into 80’s synth-pop with his new album ‘Found Heaven’

Courtesy of Republic Records

If you’re at all familiar with Conan Gray, you will likely know that his music tends to air on the side of ballads about a broken heart. Themes of infidelity, someone not loving you back and difficult family dynamics are scattered throughout his discography 

Gray’s 2018 EP “Sunset Season” and his albums, “Kid Krow” (2020) and “Superache” (2022), all have the same sort of feel — but Gray seems to have made a 180 degree switch with his newest release.

“Found Heaven”, Gray’s newest album, was released April 5 — and it’s something we’ve never seen from Gray before. Instead of sad song after sad song, Gray has dived into a new genre — 80’s synth-pop. 

When the first single off the album, “Never Ending Song” was released on May 19, 2023, I was thrown into a complete frenzy. This was something we had never seen from Gray before and it immediately became my song for the summer.

Nearly a year, and four more singles later, “Found Heaven” was released — and just like “Never Ending Song”, this album will be on repeat all summer long.

The album opens with its title track, “Found Heaven”. In an interview with NME, Gray says, “‘The intro is to me saying, ‘if there was no god above us, if there was no one watching; how would you live your life?’” Gray, raised very religiously, wanted this song to communicate the importance of living your life on your own terms.

The majority of the songs on “Found Heaven” are upbeat, dancy and are begging to be played in a rollerskating rink or in your car with all the windows down. My go-to summer songs will be “Lonely Dancers”, “Boys & Girls” and “Bourgeoisieses”. 

If you’re thinking, ‘Why is bourgeoisies spelt wrong?’ — don’t worry, Gray isn’t illiterate, in fact, this misspell was done very intentionally. 

In an interview, Gray discussed the meaning behind this song saying, “…the name ‘Bourgeoisieses’ is an intentionally misspelled plural of the bourgeoisie. I wanted to make a song that was jokingly saying ‘I want to be part of the bourgeoisie’, but not knowing anything about that so that’s why it’s misspelled.” Growing up poor, Gray always thought the concept of overly rich people was ridiculous — and this song tells that story.

The lyrics say, “The men at war, thеy draft the poor / No time to mourn, I’m on the dancеfloor / Mom and Dad got my back / But I don’t need that, I need a Maserati.”

Gray has a unique voice that perfectly suits heartbreak anthems, but with his new album,  Gray has found a new way to showcase his phenomenal range. In “Boys & Girls”, Gray moves from a falsetto in the verse, then drops to a lower range for the chorus.

The variety in his vocal range and the way he can use his range to make a song unique is truly admirable and is what makes Gray stand out as an artist.

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to Gray’s iconic vocal belts and themes of heartbreak — fear not, even with this genre change, Gray still delivered three songs for you to sing in the shower. If you’re in need of a good cry, tune into “Winner”, “Alley Rose” and “Forever With Me”.

“Winner” was one of the singles off of “Found Heaven” that released on Aug. 25, 2023, and now the single has its place as the closing track on Gray’s third studio album. “Winner” follows themes of Gray’s severe family issues growing up and seems to be a follow up to “Family Line”, a song off of “Superache” with similar themes of familial trauma.

His lyrics, “Packed my bags at fourteen / I hadn’t planned on leaving / But you haven’t been back home for days / The pots and pans and roaches / They’re glad I’m finally goin’ / ‘Cause, even them, they shudder at your name,” give us a glimpse into Gray’s home life. 

“Winner”, although written about family, can also be interpreted in different ways — such as abusive or toxic relationships. In the chorus he belts, “Is that there’s no one / Who ever has done better / At making me feel worse / Now you rеally are the winner.”

While at first I was skeptical of this genre change, as I’m a huge fan of Gray’s classic heart wrenching songs, I came around very quickly. 

“Found Heaven” is an instant classic and has a song sure to suit whatever music you enjoy the most. Whether you’re searching for your song of the summer, or a song to cry to in the shower — “Found Heaven” by Conan Gray is a must-listen.

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