Conan Gray Exudes Casual Confidence On “The King”

Conan Gray's 'Generation Why'
The Texas newcomer makes his major label debut with 'Generation Why.'

After landing a viral hit with the self-released “Idle Town,” Conan Gray inked a deal with Republic Records and rolled out “Generation Why” as his major label debut single in 2018. The 20-year-old returns with another whimsical bop inspired by small-town living. “The King” is a drowsy electro-pop anthem about being friend-zoned. “You see me as your lifeline, other boys and girls never really made you feel right,” he sings, “and you can’t explain why I’m always on your mind, can’t you see the answer is right in front of your eyes.”

Instead of cutting his losses, Conan lays his cards on the table on the cocky, sing-along chorus. “You like me obviously, so why you trying to leave when I’m the king? Because I’m supreme, choose me!” It sounds like a cross between Lorde circa Pure Heroine mixed with the lo-fi earnestness of Alec Benjamin. Which turns out to be a surprisingly good thing. As it happens, “The King” was based on personal experience. “[It’s] about this massive crush I had on someone who just wouldn’t admit they liked me back,” the Texan reveals.

“I think knowing that someone likes us, and having that person not admit it for one reason or another, is something we all experience at one time or another, and it’s so incredibly frustrating,” Conan continues. “In my case, this person would always call me up late at night, talk about me constantly to their friends, even show up at my house unannounced, so I wrote this song as a last straw.” Listen below.

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