Courtesy of Republic Records

April 21, 2022

“Memories” by Conan Gray Highlights Artist’s Changing Style

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“Memories” is the fifth single from Conan Gray’s second album, Superache, which will be released on June 24. The song was released on April 15 and chronicles Gray remembering his love for his former romantic partner. He hopes to remember this person forever because the memories are comforting, but with the person returning back into his life, the memories become painful. 

This song offers a new perspective on typical sad love songs: normally, the singer wants to get their ex back, but in Gray’s case, his ex-partner seems to be staying around him while he wants to get over them, which is turning the formerly good memories he has of their relationship into bad ones. In an interview with Insider, Gray said, “When you’re really in love with someone, you’re always like, ‘I’ll love you forever. Stay in my memories forever.’” But he didn’t want to write about that. He wanted to tell that person, “Stop showing up in real life. I don’t want any new memories from you.”

Gray’s first album, Kid Krow, came out in 2020 and was largely inspired by his rough childhood experiences such as discrimination, poverty and abuse. In contrast, Superache is much more sophisticated and vulnerable. Gray went on to explain that Superache will expand on everything he was too scared to say on his last album. Lexi Terracciano ’25 said, “‘Memories’ really stands apart in emotional delivery from Conan’s songs in Kid Krow. I think ‘Memories’ does a really good job of setting up a new era for Conan with his new album coming out soon, setting it apart from Kid Krow which I think most people know his music from.” 

Gray also released a music video of his new song, which covers the entire timeline of him getting over his former partner. The beginning of the video shows him talking on the phone with a friend, who says “Conan, please tell me you aren’t still wearing the sweater,” presumably referring to a sweater that belonged to his ex. He promises his friend that he is not wearing the sweater, although he clearly is. This introduction to the video sets up the timeline of getting over an ex: denial, sadness, acceptance and moving on. 

When Gray gets up to open the door as the lyric “It’s late I hear the door” plays, but instead of seeing a love interest, a dog runs inside. Gray runs after it, but it is too late. It seems completely random that a dog is at the door, and Gray looks accordingly confused, but the dog seems to act as a much needed companion at a difficult time.

At first Gray reacts as anyone would if a random dog barged into their house. He tries to push it away without success, which leads to him decompressing with junk food (again, relatable). One shot shows the dog chewing up the beloved sweater, which leads Gray to open his memory box–both literally and metaphorically. Gray begins to bond with the dog, and the shots of him and the dog hanging out together seem to signal his peace with the discomfort of finally moving on. At the end, Gray begins to clean up his mess of food and junk, and he finally seems calm after all the chaos with the dog, until the doorbell rings again, echoing the first scene. The video has come full circle and he is forced to find closure with a box labeled “YOURS” waiting for him at the door. As he goes to pick it up, the dog runs out the door, and Gray is finally able to move on.

The video with the dog definitely was fun, but it also featured very emotional lyrics. That is the talent of Conan Gray: he can take a serious topic and present it in a way that is fun for the listener to experience. As Terracciano puts it, “The song expresses anger, desperation and sadness very well in such a catchy way that I think it’s impossible for someone to not have fun singing their heart out while listening to it.”  

If the music video for “Memories” tells us anything about Superache, I think it should be that Gray is taking a more deep, unexpected, witty and bold approach to his sophomore album. Even the name of the album itself is not a real word: Gray describes it as “that feeling of lingering love and the super-emotional feeling that you feel when you’re young,” adding that the album is “sarcastic and fun, but also really vulnerable and painful a lot of the time. This is a type of ache where you’re self-aware that you’re being a little dramatic about it.” That is the beauty of his music: he takes a universal feeling and uses it to make his listeners feel like it’s okay to be a little dramatic sometimes. “I’m aware that being a young adult holds levels of extreme feelings that I’ll look back on 10 years from now and laugh at, but I wanted to accept the histrionic nature of growing up on this album.”

Freya Nangle is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]