Dark Light

Released: 2020

“Heather” by Conan Gray is a melodious vortex of non-reciprocal affection and unattainable identity. It’s a bitter-sweat ballad that explores the brutal feelings of self-deprecation and envy when the object of your affection loves someone else—in this case, a girl named Heather.

The song starts with the stanza “I still remember the third of December, me in your sweater”. Conan uses a specific date, spurring listeners into the depths of his memory. The sweater symbolizes the intimacy he once felt with this person, a relationship marked by an emotional warmth, that unfortunately wasn’t bound by the threads of mutual affection. When he sings “You said it looked better on me than it did you,” he’s exposing the obliviousness of the subject of his affections, seemingly blind to Conan’s true feelings.

Where he says “Brighter than the blue sky. She’s got you mesmerized while I die,” we see an intense envy of Heather. Described as brighter than the clear blue sky, Heather commands attention, even mesmerizing the person Gray is infatuated with. The phrase “while I die” showcases the agony of unrequited love, amplifying the dramatic irony in the narrative.

In the chorus, when Conan sings, “Why would you ever kiss me? I’m not even half as pretty,” it’s evident his self-esteem takes a hit—he doesn’t feel as pretty as Heather, and therefore, considers himself unworthy of the shared affection. The mention of the “sweater” again, this time gifted to Heather and described as “just polyester,” showcases his pain and resentment. Despite being a simple, non-luxurious material, the sentiment attached gives it a heartbreaking importance.

The cyclical repetition of “Wish I were Heather” is a painful acknowledgement of his low self-worth and desperate wish to metamorphose into Heather, the person who was successful in capturing the affection of the one he loves. The language employed by Conan Gray is simple yet emotionally charged, resonating deeply with anyone who’s been analytically stuck on the sidelines of unrequited love.

Related Posts