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Finding Yourself in Found Heaven: Conan Gray Album Review

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

About two months ago, Conan Gray announced his third studio album, Found Heaven. Before the announcement on January 31st, Gray released three singles from the album, “Never Ending Song,” “Winner” and “Killing Me.” He released two more singles, “Lonely Dancers” and “Alley Rose” prior to the album’s release last Friday. I wrote about some of my hopes and predictions for the album when it was first announced and—now that it is fully in our hands—I’m here to share my official review. (Spoiler alert: I loved it!)

The album’s first track is its titular one, “Found Heaven.” Immediately, this song is striking, with an acapella-style intro that brings to mind Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I think this song is a great kick-off that encapsulates the album’s vibe as a whole. It is synthy and edgy in sound with deeply personal lyrics about living your life authentically despite judgment—and particularly in the face of religious guilt. I had very high hopes for the rest of the album after hearing this one—and I was not disappointed. 

In general, this album explores very powerful and emotionally charged topics such as religious trauma and familial neglect. While Gray has touched on these themes in previous songs, this album seems to branch out a little more from his typical emphases on love and heartbreak—while still existing primarily as a breakup album. He seems to have matured here, both vocally and stylistically. Gray even expressed that this album feels like a distinct shift away from his previous two. Clearly, his experience with love and relationships has evolved in significant ways. In particular, I was struck by the ninth track, “Forever With Me.” This song memorializes the feeling of coming to terms with a breakup and realizing that, for all the hurt someone may have caused you, they are still a driving force in how you live your life. I am in awe of this album’s insight into healing and allowing yourself to feel your feelings unabashedly.

It would be remiss of me not to talk about Found Heaven’s overall retro-synth style. Gray’s inspirations are all over this 80s homage of an album. Inspiration from music by quintessential artists such as Queen, Elton John and David Bowie can be heard throughout all 13 tracks, eliciting feelings of nostalgia and bringing some classic sounds back into modern pop music. Track 11, “Boys & Girls,” with a specific lyrical reference to Bowie himself, may be one of the best modern takes on glam pop. Creating an 80s-inspired album is quite an ambitious feat, especially for an artist born in the late 1990s. But—in my totally unprofessional opinion—I think Gray does a really great job of staying true to the tune of some of his iconic influences while also branching out and adapting some of these classic sounds for a contemporary audience. 

One of my favorites from the album is track three, “Fainted Love.” I cannot express how difficult it is to keep myself from bopping and singing along to this song while listening to it in public. It is energetic and catchy, with ironically depressing lyrics about feeling trapped in a loveless relationship simply because it is better than having nothing. It’s the perfect lead-in to the next track, “Lonely Dancers,” another single released prior to the release of the full album. This synth-heavy song is another catchy beat with not-so-cheery lyrics about being ghosted by the person you thought you were dating. This song also comes with an excellent music video choreographed by Gray himself.

Quickly becoming a fan-favorite, “Bourgeoisieses” is one of the more genuinely upbeat songs on the album. It is a jokingly ironic song about the frivolous lives of the rich, and how Gray both longed for this life as a child while simultaneously resenting those who lived it. It’s humorous, catchy, and reminds me of the similarly themed song “Affluenza” from Gray’s first studio album, Kid Krow.  

The album’s final track, “Winner” is a powerful closer that is reminiscent of complicated family dynamics that Gray has discussed openly as well as mentioned in some of his previous songs, such as “Family Line” and “The Story.” This song reflects on the experience of having an abusive, neglectful parent as well as the feeling of freedom that comes with accepting the fact that you’ve been hurt and no longer trying to outrun the pain someone has caused you. Many of the songs Gray presents on this album are important ones that his listeners may benefit from hearing—particularly because his fanbase consists of so many adolescents and young adults who are still figuring out their lives. I think of big part of what makes Gray such a popular and beloved artist is that his songs are appealing and relatable to younger generations. However, I think there is something for everyone when it comes to this album—especially for those who grew up listening to 80s music!

Since the release, Gray’s fanbase has responded very positively. On TikTok, fans have been hyping him up, expressing their love for their favorite songs on the album and brainstorming outfits to wear to his upcoming tour. And Gray has been extremely active with his fans in response, frequently reposting and commenting on their videos. It is nice to see an artist so openly proud of their work and interactive with their fans. 

Overall, I think Found Heaven is a fun, catchy, impactful and impressive album. While I definitely have my personal favorites, there is not a single track I dislike. I already have tickets to attend the Found Heaven tour in October and am getting increasingly excited to see what else this new era of Conan Gray has to offer!

Amy Burke

Pitt '27

Amy Burke is a first-year student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is new to Her Campus, and eager to write more articles! She is interested in writing about entertainment, pop culture, music, and life experiences. Amy is planning on majoring in Communication Sciences & Disorders and is pursuing a minor in Linguistics. She hopes to attend graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology. In her free time, Amy loves to hike, cook/bake, sing, and listen to music. She is an avid Taylor Swift fan, and some of her other favorite artists include Phoebe Bridgers, SZA, and The Killers! She also loves cats, spending time with friends and family, chai lattes, and binging Gilmore Girls.