Single & Music Video Review: "Fake" by Lauv and Conan Gray

 This Lauv x Conan collaboration has been a long time in the making. Back in September, there was a photo leak of the two of them at a photoshoot. While that photo never surfaced in any of the officially released material, it was the first clue. Then came the TikToks at the end of last week with Conan posting a video with a Lauv track and "who even listens to Lauv anyway" and then Lauv hitting back at Conan by playing "Heather" and calling the song "fake deep". Everyone knew what was about to happen, but I don't think anyone anticipated it was coming so soon. Then on Sunday, we got a teaser clip that featured furry, leopard print outfits, a cowboy hat, and a very aggressive moment. 


We knew there was a song and video coming, but the teaser confused me. There was a lot of laughing on the internet about the outfits and plenty of question marks to go with it. Well, it all makes sense now.

The song dropped first at 9AM PST, and I rushed to click onto the new song. It starts sounding like a quintessential Lauv song with really pretty acoustic guitar and Lauv's soothing voice opening the track. That was the moment I knew, regardless of how this video ended up, the song was going to be on repeat the rest of my life. I like that Lauv kicks it off in such a grounded place. It also has Lauv's signature echoy production that radiates through the song, and the drums are perfect to give the song a definite groove. 

In the first verse, he sets the scene and gives us an idea of who they're talking about. He's critiquing fake people and the superficialness of the internet. "Yeah, you and your friends you live on the surface/Act like you're perfect, everyone knows/You're just like everyone else/Except you're better at taking photos/Oh, oh, oh/Yeah why you gotta make everything a show?". I think everyone has met this person. Someone with a major ego and an okay Instagram page that thinks the world revolves around them. I'm a sucker for subtle lyrical digs, and this verse has them throughout.

Then, the chorus brings in Conan and some major Conan influence in the lyrics. They sing the main lines together and Lauv also does an echo. I love Conan for his bluntness and the way his lyrics tell it exactly how it is. Also, these lyrics feel like a continuation of "Maniac" and a few other songs from Kid Krow. "You're so fucking fake, ah, ah/If you've got problem, say it to my face, ah, ah/And you're just like all the people that you hate". I love how bold it is, and the song flips from calming or soothing to loud and something you'd yell-sing along to in the car. Everyone can relate to this lyric because we've all dealt with passive aggressive people and wished they'd just be honest about how they felt. I also like the little jab of "you're just like all the people that you hate" because, again, it's ridiculously relatable. Go call out the hypocrites! And then, at the end, Lauv adds, "When the real you's back, I'll pick up my phone". This creates a circular element at the end of the song I really love, and it doubles down on these lyrics because there's an extra layer of irritation in knowing that this person could be good if they dropped the act. It makes the lyrics extra impactful because there's a hint of pain for the person making the call out. 

The second verse is all Conan's, and it feels like a continuation of "Wish You Were Sober". He has a serious bone to pick with this person who would only say they loved him when they were drunk. I like getting a part 2 here that mixes together all the Kid Krow singles. "Callin' me up when you're gettin' drunk/You say you're in love, but what do you mean?/Cause when you wake up, you blame it on drugs/And then we break up, you lie through your teeth/You just wanna play little games for attention/Tellin' me your perfect lies and wasting' all my time, cause". To start, I love how the verse ends with a lead into the chorus. Next, I love how they're able to both blend different personal stories into the same chorus. It's super genuine from both sides. Instead of being Instagram filtered fake, the person in Conan's verse is messing with his head for no reason. They're being honest and then taking it back when they're sober. It's another layer of relatable fakeness, and these lyrics are so Conan. 

Then the chorus repeats into he bridge where they double down on one of the lines from Conan's verse. "You just want to play little games for attention/You just want to play little games for attention/Pushin' me away so I crave your attention/Pushin' me away so I crave your attention/Callin' me insane, but you stay in my mentions/Callin' me insane, but you stay in my mentions/Tellin' me your perfect lies and wastin' all my time". Then we get another round of chorus. I love the call and repeat nature of the bridge that adds a layer of levity to the song. These are good lines too. Playing games, getting pushed around so that you want them more, and then them turning around and painting you to be the bad guy but still not leaving. It captures that toxic cycle so well. 

I'm a huge fan of this song. The lyrics are detailed and thoughtful and just too real and the song manages to hit all the right notes of being fun and having the perfect pop chorus while also staying true to both of their more organic musical roots. It makes sense that this song lives on Lauv's pages because the song does sound like Lauv at heart. It has his mix of electronic sounds with acoustic guitar along with his general vibe. That's probably helped by the fact he co-produced the track with Johnny Simpson, so he truly got to put his stamp on it. At the same time, this seems like a super equal collaboration because it's credited as Lauv and Conan Gray instead of a feature, and Conan got to put his stamp on it as well. The verse and the chorus feel so Conan. Collabs can sometimes come off awkward and forced, but this one feels like pure fun and a good balance of both artist. They're both among my favorite artists, so I knew they were going to deliver, but I wasn't expecting this song to be such a brilliant pick me up. 

Then, we got the music video fifteen minutes later. The clips from MTV were so strange that I wasn't sure what to expect. The video turned out to be tons of fun. They leaned into that anthemic, bright chorus for inspiration, and it seems to poke fun at the staged, Instagram filtered world that the subject of the song is stuck in. The video doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's what makes it so fun to watch. 

They start at a photoshoot in front of what looks like a backdrop from the DMV. They're posing in white undershirts and they're bright, pink pants. They're handed their obnoxiously fluffy cheetah/leopard print jackets, and Conan gets a cowboy hat, in a nod to Texas. He's also in a really cool pair of cowboy boots that might be the only thing I like about this particular look. Somehow, though, Conan has a confidence level that makes me question the outfit less. I'm also a fan of the choker he's wearing. This is totally unrelated, but Conan has been wearing some incredible chokers lately. 

In the next scene, they're in a fake bedroom set, looking confused. They're pelted with pillows and fake feathers that are more annoying that fun slumber party. The proceed to have a pillow fight where they look like they're genuinely having a great time before they get pulled off in two different directions by masked and traffic vested PAs. They flash to Conan in front of a new set where he starts his verse while having a leaf blowers running in his face. It makes his hair super fluffy. You can see Lauv getting taken to a spot in the background during it, and in the most Lauv fashion, he immediately picks up the light thing on the step next to him to check it out. Everything feels very DIY and like it's teetering on going off the rails the entire time. 

Conan starts walking forward again and a PA sticks his hat back on and gives one to Lauv. The next set is some fast food dreamland. There's ice cream, hot dog, and burger statues. This seems to be the only holdover from the first leaked photo. Someone throws sparks or fire crackers at them while they're posing, and Conan looks genuinely worried about being in the path of one for a moment. The set crashes, and they run. Before that, though, there are some truly interesting dance moves happening. 

The bridge takes place in a trippy perfume ad set where there's pink smoke and a strange jungle where everything is much more serious. Conan has a serious look for the camera. Heading into the next chorus, they have to stand in a kiddie pool next to an ominous gameshow button. The PAs take away the jackets and Conan's hat, and you can see the dread on Conan's face as Lauv hits the button. When a combo of glitter and water come down from the sky, Lauv looks completely shocked even though he had to know it was coming. I want to know if anyone bothered heating the water. Then there's a bounce house sequence. When they jump out, Conan loses it laughing and the song ends with a celebration of being done filming and a hug. It's a super cute video that's so fun, and it seems like they're having a great time filming. It's almost like a weird gameshow where they're going through all these challenges. I also like the slightly unhinged vibe that runs through it where it seems like they're genuinely teetering on disaster. All their reactions seemed completely natural, and it kept me smiling. 

That's all for today! If you want to watch the video, I'll embed that down below and leave the Spotify link. Go stream it! Also, I'll link everything I've written about Conan and Lauv down below so you can check that out. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch my Kid Krow reaction video on YouTube where I get into everything I love about Conan's debut album. 

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