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An Analysis of Conan Gray’s “The Other Side” Re-Release

Conan Gray is a musician and YouTuber from Central Texas, now attending UCLA, who gained serious popularity over the past year. Gray recently released his first EP, which was met with great praise. Gray took to Twitter on February 6th, 2019, to announce a new release of his song “The Other Side”.

“The Other Side” was originally released on YouTube in 2016, on the eve of the first day of Conan Gray’s senior year of high school. The video featured Gray riding his bike (a reoccurring activity in his videos), riding through his hometown of Georgetown, Texas, hanging out with friends, and basking in his youth. The video was released about two years ago but it shows just how much Gray has changed in such a short period. Little things highlight just how much Gray’s world has been altered, such as the fact he’s wearing a Stanford shirt, which is somewhat ironic considering the school’s competitive relationship with UCLA. In the past year, Gray has made his late night television debut on Late Night With Seth Meyers, was nominated for a Shorty Award for best YouTube musician, reached over 20,000,000 streams on his song “Idle Town”, and announced he will be touring with Panic! At The Disco. Gray wrote in the description of the original video, “This song is very nostalgic, it’s just me trying to hold onto a piece of my life that I know will be gone soon. These are the memories I will most fondly remember, I am so grateful!”

Conan choosing to remake the song (that he was never going to release in the first place back in 2016) is somewhat shocking and emphasizes a great deal of the changes that have occurred in his life.

The song opens with a relatively similar sound, with Conan Gray adding a few different dips, demonstrating his growth as a vocalist. The song’s difference is made expressly clear when the bass drops, and instead of the old plucking acoustic melody, an electronic and synthy portion of the song begins, with a sound more similar to Gray’s EP. Fans of the original song will most likely find themselves shocked and wide-eyed, as the sudden change to the classic version is definitely noticeable. The lyrics remain constant, but a new pulsating beat layered with the old acoustics, and impressive but subtle vocal runs, give the song a different feel.

Gray made the choice to re-release and redo “The Other Side” punctuates the shocking changes that have occurred in Conan Gray’s life over the past two and a half years. Though Gray now has a more matured and voice, and higher production value; it is difficult to compare the 2016 and 2019 versions of “The Other Side”. Both versions of the song are so different, and at the exact same time, they are both share the same message about trying to hold on while letting go.

Feature image courtesy of Joaquin Cabello from Riff Magazine

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Helen Ehrlich is a writer who enjoys politics, activism and charity work, music, and all things literary. She lives in America where she attends school.

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