The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Listeners Find Heaven with ‘Found Heaven’

Kiran Dinakaran
Taking on the aesthetic of the ’80s, Conan Gray’s third album ‘Found Heaven’ gives listeners a fresh take on Gray’s writing style.

Rising singer-songwriter sensation Conan Gray released his third album, titled Found Heaven, on April 5 through Republic Records. This album completely diverges from Gray’s previous works, taking on an ‘80s aesthetic mixed with Gray’s distinguishable writing style.

In his previous works, Gray’s lyrics usually took inspiration either from events in his personal life or his imagination, while still managing to take an individual and nuanced tone that would convince you he has been through countless relationships. However, many songs on this album like Alley Rose, Fainted Love, and Killing Me were based on his first time falling in love, being in a relationship, and eventually getting dumped. Having been in a relationship for the first time, this was also the first time Gray had personal experience to draw from while writing love songs, deepening the emotional intensity of his writing. The album also covers parts of Gray’s life such as his experiences with social class, religion, and family trauma.

The album’s title takes on several meanings, arguably the most obvious one being that Gray has found a place that he feels comfortable calling heaven. However, the title could also allude to the death of Gray’s relationship or the end of his Superache era of music. The name of the album takes different meanings in the context of what song you’re listening to on the album. 

The titular track, Found Heaven, tackles the theme of fearing religion. The song talks about having an unhealthy relationship with religion and eventually coming to accept what your perception of religion is. The intro starts with a haunting gospel, setting the theme with the line “No soul is no innocent, everybody wants to love,” characterizing actions as simple as love as a sin. “Finding heaven” in the context of this song is about finding a comfortable relationship with religion despite facing the adversity of societal pressures regarding religion.

The final track of the album, Winner, signifies both the end of the album and Gray’s acceptance of being the victim of familial abuse, characterizing a neglectful parent as the winner in a contest of people who have made Gray feel bad. The song starts off with just vocals and piano accompaniment but eventually includes more elements like drums, synths, and harmonized guitars that really bring out the sound of the 1980s, while also serving the lyrics which start to pick up in emotionality as the song goes on. “Finding heaven” in this song is accepting that someone who you thought loved you is an abuser, and distancing yourself from them.

In terms of aesthetics, the album hits it out of the park with both its songs and visual components. All of the songs include elements of synths and guitars that make you feel like you’re listening to a record from the ‘80s, while still maintaining a modern feel through Gray’s vocals. Songs like Forever With Me and Winner embrace the feel of ‘80s power ballads with their dramatic piano parts and emotional vocals. When you listen to the two songs back-to-back, they feel like a duology because of their similar instrumentations and contrasting lyrical themes. Forever With Me is about Gray loving someone despite all of the fights he’s had with them because of how much they grew together, but Winner is about his realization that this person abused him and that he needs to move on from them. 

To further lean into the aesthetic of the 80s the album is being sold in eight different vinyl variants, with the Target exclusive and Alley Rose editions having alternate album covers. All of the vinyl records are colored differently based on the store that they are bought from and have a star in the middle of them, which has been heavily used in promotion for the album with Gray’s signature teardrop-star logo. The logo signifies how the things that make you cry exemplify the beauty in life, a recurring theme throughout songs in the album.

While this album did diverge sonically from Gray’s previous projects, it gave listeners a fresh take on his signature writing style. The songs reflect Gray’s experience with his last relationship perfectly with its emotionally complex lyrics that are sure to hit listeners in the feels.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kiran Dinakaran
Kiran Dinakaran, Reporter
Class of 2025 I love writing and playing music, drawing and Pokemon. I am also a member of Garageband and Color Guard.

Comments (0)

Westwood Student Press intends for this comment area to foster welcoming, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards.
All Westwood Horizon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *