Conan Gray has shared his latest single, the slow-burning ‘Astronomy’.
“Astronomy’ is about that slow, painful, often denial inducing process of growing apart from somebody,” Gray explains. “That moment when all of a sudden you look at that person you’ve loved for years and realize you no longer know them. That you two exist on two different worlds now. I find the worst heartbreaks happen slowly. No blowout fight and slamming doors and showing up on doorsteps while it’s raining. Just a gradual decaying of love with nothing left to do to stop it from slipping away. There’s no explanation, nobody to blame. That hurts the most.”
Bittersweet and light as air, ‘Astronomy’ sometimes feels like it’s on the verge of disappearing into the ether until its killer bridge section, where Gray adds an emotional plea to his vocal performance and reaches some killer falsetto notes. From that point on, the song turns into a tense crescendo that builds and builds as everything grows louder and more powerful. Just as it’s on the verge of exploding, the bottom drops out while Gray wavers on the final a cappella vocal line. Just like that, the track and its story are over. No closure, no resolution. It’s a brilliant tool that takes a boilerplate acoustic single and makes it sonically interesting.
Sometimes it’s the simplest of arranging tricks that make the biggest emotional impact, and Gray has enough musical knowledge to wring the maximum amount of emotion out of the song’s final two minutes. That shows an artist who actually knows what he’s doing. It might sound like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not: it takes a lot of purposeful skill to make the right decisions in your arrangement and to make it sound that easy.
Listen to ‘Astronomy’ down below.