“Call me a telepath…”
Conan Gray is kind of psychic. It’s like he has ESPN or something.
After dropping his Top 5-charting debut album Kid Krow last year, including “Maniac” and the TikTok-trending “Heather,” his most commercially successful hit yet, as well as a slew of singles ever since, including “Astronomy” and “People Watching,” the 22-year-old singer-songwriter-Gen Z darling returned on Friday (October 29) with yet another brand new track, called “Telepath.”
And from the sound of it, he could very well out-chart himself with this one.
The instantly great kiss-off finds Conan seizing the chill in the air, moving on with a swiftness (well, maybe…) across shimmering ’80s synth-pop similar to The Weeknd‘s “Blinding Lights,” supplying fiery falsetto and big belting while swatting away (well, possibly…) the lover trying to win his heart back after a split.
This autumn goodbye is also stacked, featuring some of the biggest hit-makers of the past few years: Julia Michaels, Swedish pop production prince Ilya (who’s done tons with Ariana Grande, including the almighty “Into You”), and frequent Dua Lipa collaborator Caroline Ailin. Also, Max Martin is credited on the background vocals. Casual.
Lyrically, it’s not unlike Our Lady Lipa’s own Future Nostalgia walk-away anthem “Don’t Start Now” (albeit less confident in its decision to ditch the dunce once and for all), as well as the stuff of his pal Olivia Rodrigo‘s own angst anthems. That “God,” especially, feels very much like a nod.
“It’s just so you, you’re just so predictable / Won’t you try something original? / Old news, reused, that’s why I don’t cry,” he declares, unimpressed. Young love is a flame!
That earworm of a chorus is as much of a stun as one would expect from all those industry heavyweights, making disses like “I got a feelin’ you’ll be sendin’ me trash you shoulda left in the drafts” feel misleadingly charming coming from that sweet, sweet voice.
“There you are at my door, drunk and asking me for a kiss / When yesterday you said that you hate my guts / Now you’re back in love?” He might be a Swiftie, but he clearly doesn’t fall for the same win-’em-back tactics laid out in “How You Get the Girl.” Or…does he?
Not only is the song mercifully over 3 minutes long (a rarity in 2021!), but it’s also got a bridge – and a fantastic one at that, switching up the story and suggesting that this isn’t such a clean split, after all.
“But I bet you, I bet you, I bet you, I bet you I’ll call you when I’m cryin’, yeah / I bet you, I bet you, I bet you, I bet you’ll return in perfect timing and I won’t stop you from trying…” No! Don’t give in, Conan! Stay strong!
The sparkling song is such an obvious hit, I’ve got a feeeeeeling…“Telepath” is only going to lead to even more massive things to come in the very near future for Conan Gray.
Kid Krow is still available as a limited cassette at Urban Outfitters.