Conan Gray Is Definitely Up To Something... ("Astronomy" out May 7th)

 I need an escape from the chaos of finals week, so I'm back with another rambling theories post. This one has been in the making for a while now because I wanted to be sure that these clues were actually clues. It's always tricky with artists these days. I often wonder if I'm overthinking something random or if my Swiftian instincts are working. But I have a good feeling about this one. 

For some background, Conan Gray's debut album came out almost exactly a year and a month ago. Kid Krow's most successful song, "Heather" took off around August/September of 2020 due to TikTok. In February, Conan released a new single "Overdrive", but in recent interviews he's indicated that "Overdrive" is likely not on the album. In interviews for the song, he's been inconsistent about when new music is coming or how soon it will be attached to an album. While he claims he's only just started the album, in interviews back in March of 2020, he was saying the same thing. Regardless, he's consistently promised "some music" in the future. 

As far as broad clues that something is on the way, Conan's frequent photographer/director/collaborator, Dillon Matthews said that "Overdrive" was only the beginning when posting stories to promote the music video. Dan Nigro also commented "LP 2 Lewks" under an Instagram post Conan made on January 4th. If you don't know, albums are also called LPs. 

So what actual clues do I have to present to you? Vague Instagram stories and some tenuous connections. On April 13th, Conan posted a video of himself talking to two cats. Not long after, he added a photo of the galaxy, taken by the Hubble telescope around 4:10pm PST. It's quite pretty and could've just been a random post, but theories started swirling around the Twitter fandom immediately. 

Then, five days later (April 18th around 2:08pm PST), the second galaxy photo appeared, starting to suggest a pattern. Adding to that sense of pattern, Conan once again posted a regular story (a banana sitting on a fence) before the galaxy photo.

Finally, we have today's photo (April 21st). Conan first posted a photo of his Air Force One sneaker on some astroturf with a popular cat photo added overtop. The cats tails bend together to form a heart. Seconds later, he added another galaxy photo. With three whole photos to look at, it becomes clearer that it seems like we're progressively zooming out on the same area. Maybe we're zooming out towards an answer to this extremely confusing puzzle. 

Now, how do these stories connect to a wider context? First off, this isn't the only space related post Conan has shared in recent months. Back on December 26th he posted a photo of the moon without context. 

Also, when I saw the first space photo my mind jumped back to one of the earliest interviews for "Overdrive" which was a print story from NME. On it, he talked about some of the early themes that were emerging on the album and what he's been writing about, "I’ve also gotten very existential in quarantine, like, ‘Why do I exist? Is fate real? Is there somebody out there that I just haven’t seen yet that’s going to change my life forever?’ I keep having those types of thoughts, so I’ve been writing very existential songs. I’ve been very nostalgic.” This quote has stuck with me over the last couple months, and a photo of all these twinkling gems in space definitely feels like questions about fate, existence, and other existential questions. It doesn't get much bigger picture than these telescope photos. He's also mentioned that the songs set for the rest of the year will take a turn for the sad and introspective. All of this seems to line up. 

So now the question becomes when. Is this for a single song or a longer game album announcement? It seems like the answer will come soon, simply looking at how these stories have rolled out. The first wait was 5 days, this new one came after 3 days. Also, they've gotten about an hour earlier with each post. These seem highly scheduled because Conan hasn't been active on social media almost at all since the first galaxy post rolled out. They always seem to come in pairs, and the grid posts have become weekly. If the pattern holds, tomorrow's post could be an explanation or even a potential announcement of a Friday release if we're going to be really optimistic. I'm curious to see where this goes, and regardless of what it becomes, theories are one of the most fun parts of following musicians in the social media age. 

4/22 11:49: Conan's merch store seems to have moved on from both the Kid Krow and Overdrive eras. Now, the only things listed on the shop are the Overdrive digital download, new Sunset Season vinyl, a Heather Sweater, the riche biche shirt (because I genuinely don't know who would buy that one), and the classic Kid Krow sweater which is the least stocked the shop has been in a while.

4/24: No announcement and no new space photos (yet), but Conan did finally post on Instagram for the first time in over a week, and speculation is swirling about what the caption could mean. If this particular theory is accurate, it would be a pretty Swiftian level Easter egg, but I can't help but agree that it makes sense.

 

The caption reads, "......🕺?", and fans were quick to notice the 6 dots preceding the emoji might be pointing towards the release date of a new song. A regular ellipses is 3 dots... so this might mean something. Considering that 6 days from today is a Friday, this actually does seem like a promising theory, and if the dancing theme of the post is an indicator of the vibe of the song, the next could Fridays would be the perfect time to drop a contender for song of the summer. There's definitely much to ponder. Hopefully, an announcement will come soon. 


4/26: It's around 2:30 in the afternoon LA times, and for about an hour now, Conan's website has been down. It's blank on the US site and there's a new, blue background on the UK store. I was getting really scared that maybe I'd reached too far and nothing was really coming, but a website update in the middle of the day is definitely an interesting development. Also, why is it taking so long to update? The only thing still up is an email subscription form and the notice cancelling Europe tour at the bottom of the page. The store and Overdrive content is gone. EDIT The website eventually reloaded with two single cards for "Fake" that didn't have any streaming links which is... weird. 

4/29: When I had just about given up on Conan ever posting again, he came back with... a lot. In a new Instagram post captioned "world's apart" Conan stands on a barrier out over a highway and the ocean. The letters of the caption are separated by galaxy-like symbols. He followed that up with an additional galaxy photo on his stories. The weirdest change of all is that his professional Instagram page now reads "Scientist" under the type of page. Since his YouTube days, Conan has always talked about how if he wasn't a singer, he'd be a biologist, so this is an interesting progression with the space theme. Is it a late drop for tonight or an early announcement for next Thursday night. I'm officially intrigued.

4/30- While there's no formal announcement yet, Conan did appear on a magazine cover for the first time in a while. In Spanish magazine Fucking Young, Conan talks about sustainable fashion, green living, surviving the pandemic, and more. There's both a digital and print version of the magazine shipping world wide that features both an interview and a full photoshoot done by Tommy Dorfman. 

5/1- Conan Gray might finally be coming back to Earth... hopefully to tell us what's going on? Today's Insta story from around 12:10pm PST shows the earth from, seemingly, the perspective of the moon. It's still a ways off from Earth, but we seem to have come back to the home galaxy. Maybe that means an announcement is on the horizon. We're headed back home.


5/2- The journey back to Earth is taking longer than anticipated. Conan posted another space story with the Earth clearly in view. It's clear that making it back to Earth is a goal. Not sure which part of it we'll land on eventually. This is the longest, most confusing trail of clues to an announcement I've seen yet, and I'm hoping it ends soon. 

5/3- IT'S HAPPENING!!!!! I love how I try to make my posts on here so professional and then these theories post is total fan girling nonsense. So don't mind that, but Conan finally posted an actual teaser for an actual song with what I'm assuming is lyrics. He still has not provided a date (vital information), but I'm guessing the song will drop on Friday. I still maintain that this is the true start of the album cycle because there's been a much bigger production around the release of this track. Also, MTV is launching some kind of a fan project for Conan. But here's the collage he posted to Twitter, Instagram, and Insta Stories with a ton of space-like nonsense in the caption where the date should clearly be:

The post reads: "it's astronomy, we're two worlds apart" in letters that look cut out of a magazine over a purple galaxy. It's actually quite pretty, and I'm assuming this is his way of continuing to tease lyrics now that cryptic Twitter posts are out of the question. If you asked me, I'd say we're probably getting something every day this week leading up to a Friday release. I have to applaud of different this rollout is from "Overdrive" even using the exact same platform. This just feels bigger for some reason. 

Dan Nigro also just shared the teaser post to his Insta story with lots of eye emojis which seems to signal that this song is a Conan and Dan collaboration. Dan is one of Conan's longtime producers and co-writers who was nearly the sole collaborator on both Sunset Season and Kid Krow. You might also recognize his name if you're a fan of Olivia Rodrigo because he's worked with her on hits "Drivers License" and Deja Vu". I'm even more excited for the song now that I know Conan will be going back to Dan after "Overdrive" which featured a handful of new collaborators. 

Conan also posted a new space story shortly after. I honestly thought we would be done with those after the lyric teaser. It turns out that we're still slowly approaching Earth. Along with this lovely side view of the planet there's more space-nonsense style writing. Not really sure what that means, but I guess we aren't quite done with whatever journey these stories have been mapping. 

Okay I take the space nonsense thing back. After looking at it more, I'm pretty sure his caption is telling us the date. There's five symbols a / like you would use when writing a date and then seven symbols. 5/7 would be this Friday. 

He also just restoried a post from @dark.conan who made a joke about Conan searching the internet for space photos and typing random symbols over them to post. He added a 😌❤️ over it. I guess he's letting us know he's in on the joke too. 

5/4- And we have a conclusion at long last... Conan posted a music video teaser today featuring sections of the song and music video. He also clarified the date and title. Posting on Twitter he added the teaser with "ASTRONOMY. FRIDAY. MIDNIGHT. PRESAVE TO FIND LYRICS". I'll get to that in a minute, but we know it's coming out Friday and that it's called "Astronomy" which matches all the space photos and the lyric from yesterday. 

In the teaser, there's some kind of accident intercut with scenes of Conan waking up. He rolls over and it flashes to a car wreck that's blink and you miss it. Then it goes back to a close up of his face before he's running off through the woods. There's clearly some kind of terrible accident. When the title card hits, his voice comes in with "Two worlds apart" in dreamy tones reminiscent of the stacked vocal layers on Sunset Season. That would make sense as it's a Dan collab. The title is written in cut out magazine letters with a collage effect that's been used in all the promo materials so far. 

In the tweet, Conan also linked the a subdivided section of his website, astronomy.conangray.com. He directed fans to preserve for a lyric hint. This website shows more galaxy photos and floating words that you can arrange into, "We drive through the woods". This makes complete sense with the teaser and seems to be setting up quite the story. Are they worlds apart because... someone dies? 

Given that it's only Tuesday, I'm excited to see what else Conan possibly has in store for the next few days. Consider me thoroughly intrigued. 

On his Insta story, Conan also updated everyone that the link to the website will reveal new lyrics every single day till Friday, so make sure you check back with the link and with this post to piece it together. 


5/5- New lyrics have emerged, earlier than expected. A couple minutes ago the astronomy updated with the lyric, "Rich neighborhoods to watch". So, so far we have 1) "It's astronomy/We're two worlds apart" 2) "We drive through the woods" and finally 3) "Rich neighborhoods to watch".
Update: Conan wasn't done with surprises for today. He released an acoustic clip of the song, playing it on guitar in the bedroom. In the clip he sings, "We're traveled the seas/We've written the stars/We've seen everything from Saturn to Mars". It sounds absolutely gorgeous and I'm officially 30x more excited.
    Republic has also sent everyone into a very confused tailspin with a tweet. Quote tweeting Conan's astronomy announcement, they used the same symbol and / format that Conan used to announce the date of astronomy. This time, though, it makes less sense. There are 15 symbols a / and then 11 symbols which could potentially mean November 15th? Many fans are speculating this means the album will drop in November, but that's incredibly far away. Even if it is currently set for November, now would be a strange time to start to announce that.

 

    5/6- New lyric is up bright and early today as it's around 7:14 AM PST. The new lyric, and the last one before the song drops is: "We joked as we looked", which makes the least sense to me of all the lyrics we've received so far. I'm guessing that's not the entire lyric. Not much longer to go until the song releases at midnight local time. I'm looking forward to whatever the final teaser will be today and to see if the music video will release at midnight EST or if it's going to release on Monday like "Overdrive" did.

5/7- "Astronomy" and the music video are both out now, and they're absolutely stunning! Check out my reaction to the song last night and the new music video. You can read all my thoughts in my new Post about the music video. Thanks for coming along on this adventure with me and checking back for updates. I'll see you again when the clues start popping up again! 

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