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Released: 2024

“Alley Rose” by Conan Gray is an emotionally driven pop ballad narrating a tale of a passionate yet unrequited love affair that leaves the singer longing for his absent lover. It’s a song that explores the complexities of human connections, diving into the deep feelings of desire, heartache, and vulnerability.

The opening verses, “I picked you up from the corner store/Your eyes were red, and your lips were torn/So much to say that’s subject-sore/So much you’d change since you were born”, reveal that Conan is recounting a memory, a crucial moment when he faced his lover’s severe emotional distress. There’s an undeniable intimacy here, with the information providing the listener insight into an emotionally charged encounter. It sets the stage for a dramatically poignant narrative.

The recurring choruses, “Don’t leave me hangin’ alone again/Don’t leave me hangin’ alone again/Oh, where’d you go, go, Alley Rose?/Oh, where’d you go, go, go?” reveal the emotional undertones of the song. Conan symbolises his lover as ‘Alley Rose,’ perhaps to represent their hidden beauty. The repeated pleas denote an intense longing and isolation felt by the singer. It’s as though his lover’s absence has left him gasping for air, cementing the theme of unfulfilled love.

Additionally, the lines, “But I swore hands were made for fighting/I swore eyes were made to cry/But you’re the first person that I’ve seen/Who’s proven that might be a lie”, further drives home the significance of their relationship. Conan uses ‘fighting’ and ‘crying’ as metaphors for the tumultuous range of emotions people often experience in relationships. Yet, with ‘Alley Rose’, those rules don’t seem to apply- suggesting their connection was something uniquely profound.

Lastly, the tracks’ emotionally raw closure, “Don’t leave me hanging alone again/I thought that I was your only friend/Oh, where’d you go, go, Alley Rose?/Oh, where’d you go, go, go?”, screams of his stretching despair and the sharp sting of the unreciprocated affection. Despite all the anguish, he still clings onto the hope of a return, making “Alley Rose” a hauntingly beautiful ode to lost love.

Conan Gray’s “Alley Rose” serves up a potent cocktail of tragic romance and piercing sincerity that leaves listeners hankering for more. It sustains a delicate balance between passion and vulnerability, wrapped up in lyrics that drip with raw emotion and searing honesty.

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