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Escaping to Find Common Ground: A Conan Gray Fan Project

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

Written By: Katie Bresnahan

I think we can all agree that listening to music can truly be an escape. Shoving our headphones into our ears and turning the volume up all the way can remove us from reality, whatever it may be. Certain songs fly us to different cities and states, away from the little suburban towns that we grew up in. However, those same songs can take us right back in those little towns when we’re feeling nostalgic. It's one of the most powerful things about music. It can transform us, inspire us to go to new places, and draw us back to the places we love.

A handful of artists today have a really special way of creating that sense of nostalgia towards these different places and times. Conan Gray, a YouTuber turned singer, is one of those artists. In his song, "Idle Town," he shows listeners his childhood experience of growing up in small sleepy town that we can all relate to in a way: “Yeah, we invent our own little games/ When the lights out at the stadium, hey/ Making life a spinning arcade/ And curfew’s at midnight, we watch the sunrise/ We watch the sunrise.”

The lyrics have a similar essence to Lorde’s lyrics, “I love these roads where the houses don’t change/ Where we can talk like there’s something to say/ I’m glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway/ We move in the tree streets/ I’d like it if you stayed” from "400 Lux." Songs like these are comforting because they remind us all of the places we know won’t change even though things around us may change rapidly.

“I love how [Conan's] music isn’t just love songs. I love that he writes about teenage life in general. All of his songs are so relatable and have a kind of nostalgic feeling to them,” says Alayna. Alayna is a Conan fan from New Jersey who is putting together a compilation video of "Idle Town" performances from The Sunset Shows Tour. She says, “It was the end of an era and I wanted to do something special for Conan.” Alayna has received a little over 20 videos and is still looking for more. “He’s such a sweet genuine person. There’s no reason not to love him.”

Songs have a funny way of attaching themselves to our thoughts and feelings of the moment, making them time machines. And what a relief when we discover that we aren’t the only ones feeling that way! Alayna’s fan project is a perfect example of how music can highlight our similarities and common ground.

Thank you, Alayna, for taking the time to answer our questions! Be sure to submit your video of Idle Town to her if you have one!

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