Conan Gray's "Astronomy" Music Video Is Quite the Journey


 I didn't know what to expect from the "Astronomy" video at all. When Conan first dropped the teaser, there were so many wild guesses that he was going to be in a lab or there would be an alien abduction based on the flashes of teaser. That's not at all how the video turned out, and I'm honestly really happy about that. I don't think a high concept video would've fit the emotional vulnerability of this new song. If you want to hear me talk about the song in detail, I made a video reaction to it last night. But since then, both Conan and his co-writer and producer Dan Nigro have posted about the song. Dan said that the song was part of his "campaign for bringing back bridges in 2021", which I will definitely cosign. 

In his recent post, Conan talked in detail about the song but not the video. I think the post still provides plenty of illuminating insight about both, though. "This song is a very precious and fragile piece of my soul... I wrote this song about somebody who I'd loved for many many years; suddenly I looked at them and realized I didn't know them at all. We'd spent so long millimeters face to face, we hand't noticed that everything around us had changed," he wrote. The video seems to work to emulate that story. We still don't know who helped create the video, though, even after Conan went live on Instagram to chat with fans. There aren't any credits in the video caption. 

The video is shot from the POV of the viewer being a character in the video itself (similar to One Direction's Night Changes, just less cheesy). They begin by establishing a world, much like the song does. He wakes up in a beige toned room and sings the opening lines to the camera before embarking on an adventure out in the woods. Everything is so lush and green and pretty. Conan wears a jacket that looks thrifted and the high wasted, slightly flared jeans that are very on trend at the moment (Gracie Abrams wore a similar pair in her music video from last night too). While "Overdrive" was crawling with Euphoria and teen movie vibes, this video is softer, earthier, and comforting. Everything in the first half is soft. 

The settings, the pick up truck he drives, and the overall nature of the video sends my mind straight back to "The Story"'s music video. Here, though, there are far more moments of levity. There's shots of him driving a pick up truck down a bumpy dirt road where he spends an alarming amount of time not looking at the road. He takes the camera on a surprise picnic, covering the viewers eyes before unveiling the blanket and basket next to a pretty pool of water. Everything feels light and carefree.  

By the second verse, everything gets a bit more melancholy, and it seems like he's reminding himself to smile through these verses. You can see the lampshade behind him is knocked over, and I'm not sure if it's foreshadowing or if they simply forgot to reset it after the later scenes in the video where he rips up the room. Either way, it feels ominous. It gets dark in the driving scenes too as he heads into the uncertain wilderness. The light, summery date vibes disappear in favor of darkness, rain, and dramatic melancholy. As the bridge dissolves in pain, he begins to thrash through the bedroom set, and there's a new set of clips out in an empty field off the dirt road in an entirely new, similarly country-rooted look. 

The driving scenes end in a car wreck, and you briefly see him fly forward into the steering wheel and then limply fall back against the seat with little resolution. He keeps staggering through the field in the rest of the intercuts. There's also plenty of agonized thrashing on the bed, still with his Docs on his feet which threw me off a little. I think "no shoes on the bed" has been ingrained in me a little too deeply. At the very end, he dramatically yanks the drywall off the walls which adds to the flurry of thrown blankets and general distress. He stumbles back into a side chair and seems to come back to his senses after a second, taking a shaky breath. The video ends with Conan walking off into the sunset totally alone.

It's amazing how quickly the storyline deteriorates over the course of four minutes and the first half and the second could be from two entirely different videos. I love how this video pulls small elements from all of his other videos and combines them together. Ever since "Heather", his videos have all had an extremely cinematic yet personal feel to them that's truly enhanced each of them. 

I think the video suits the song extremely well and they both work with each other. Conan has never disappointed with a video before, and I don't anticipate that happening any time soon. I'm hoping in the future, though, we'll get to learn more about who worked on this video and how it came to be. 


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