Conan Gray takes us back in time in new album

Conan Gray released his third album, “Found Heaven,” on April 5, consisting of 13 songs with an album length of 36 minutes. The overall sound of this album is different from Gray’s previous releases. The album has a strong artistic aesthetic featuring a more ’80s-inspired pop-synth sound. Many songs draw inspiration from classic ‘80s hits.

This is an album all about relationships and heartbreak. It captures the feelings that come with getting into a relationship and then the journey through the breakup and what comes after. 

Unlike his past songs of heartbreak, these songs are based on Gray’s current real-life experiences. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he talks about how he recently went through his first breakup, so now these songs are truthful about his relationships. He says “With [my last album] Superache, I got used to reminiscing and making up stories, whereas this album was a lot more present… This whole album is letting myself feel all of my emotions and letting them hit me like a wave rather than running away from them.”

Listening to this album for the first time feels like dusting off a VHS tape. It has that obvious retro feel but with a modern twist from the production and lyricism. The album opens with title track, “Found Heaven,” which starts with a strong ’80s-inspired instrumental that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

The second track, “Never Ending Song”  was the lead single, released on May 19, 2023. When I first heard it last year, the ‘80s inspiration caught me by surprise. It features some fun electronic beats and Gray’s lower register, which is something listeners have not heard a lot of previously.

The third track, “Fainted Love” is one of my personal favorites from the album. The song is about fading love and longing, but what makes it my favorite is the production. The instrumentals are amazing, and they have a nice lead-up to the chorus. This song makes me want to dance around my bedroom.

The single “Alley Rose” quickly became a fan favorite, with the bridge being especially popular on TikTok. It features the lyrics, “And I don’t even care / If it’s just a summer fling / If it’s all experimental / And you go back to safer things / But I swore hands were made for fighting / I swore eyes were made to cry / But you’re the first person that I’ve seen / Who’s proven that might be a lie.” This is one of those songs where it’s apparent that Gray is being more open and vulnerable with his feelings.

It wouldn’t be a Conan Gray album without some tearjerkers. The album closes with “Winner,” which takes the cake for being this album’s best emotional deep cut. It is more of a slow song compared to many of the others on the album. Between the powerful vocals and lyrics about doubting one’s self-worth, this song is a standout track.

Overall, the album is strong in terms of vocals and production. It is also something very different than what is currently being released.

Gray has announced that he will be touring for “Found Heaven.” The tour is set to begin in Australia in July. The North American leg kicks off Sept. 19 in Minneapolis.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Gray live twice now and his concerts are absolutely incredible. Not only does he have an amazing stage presence, but his live vocals are stunning. While listening to “Found Heaven,” I often found myself thinking about how this will be such a fun album live, so I can’t wait to see how it translates when attending his upcoming shows.


4/5 Stars


Featured photo courtesy of @conangray, Instagram