REVIEW: Conan Gray’s debut album ‘Sunset Season’ conveys the monotony of adolescence

The haziness of the album cover mimics the sound of the tracks.

Courtesy of Google Images

The haziness of the album cover mimics the sound of the tracks.

Adolescence and the monotony of high school can truly bore teens. Nineteen-year-old YouTuber and singer-songwriter Conan Gray’s “Sunset Season,” which debuted Friday, Nov. 16, captures this dullness of youth in an anything-but-dull, dreamy album.

On his Instagram, Gray described that the events of the album take place at “Sunset High,” an imaginary high school he believes embodies the many indolent towns his fans live in. According to Gray, many of his songs are based on the real events of his life and experiences during his own teen years. The songs on the EP speak of heartbreak, loss and the slothfulness of youth.

His first single, “Idle Town,” released in 2017, was a major hit on both YouTube and Spotify and launched the young singer’s music career. “Idle Town” describes Gray’s hometown in Texas. Its smooth sounds seem to embody the fusing of memories and events during one’s high school years.

Following this theme, “Generation Why,” the second song on the album, cleverly uses a play-on-words to represent Gray’s generation: Generation Y. In this song, Gray sings about the struggles of growing up as a millennial. Accompanied by a music video with a surreal repetition of the same day in Gray’s life, “Generation Why” gives listeners the feeling of a dreamy, monotonous childhood.

The next two tracks, “Crush Culture” and “Greek God,” illustrate Gray’s battle with love. “Crush Culture” emphasizes Gray’s hatred for the culture of needing a significant other during high school.

In “Crush Culture,” he sings, “Crush culture makes me wanna spill my guts out / I know what you’re doing, tryna get me to pursue ya.”

“Greek God” shifts from the more upbeat, general angst of “Crush Culture” to a slower, more specific frustration with love, as Gray expresses vexation towards a certain person. A low-tempo, bass-heavy vibe emulates his feelings in this song.

Ending with heartbreak, Gray’s song “Lookalike” has a sad but soothing feel. An almost ethereal feel is emitted mixed with emotional and somewhat depressing lyrics. A layering of vocals and light piano add to this dreamlike state that appears throughout the album.

With flowy tunes and dreamy vocals, “Sunset Season” tells the story of the sluggishness of adolescence that many teens can relate and vibe to.