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Released: 2020

Conan Gray’s “Maniac” is a vibrant exploration of a toxic relationship, taking the listener on a roller coaster ride through extreme highs and lows. The song’s lyrics provide a damning portrayal of a lover who is unpredictable, volatile and hypocritical.

At the helm of the narrative, Gray narrates tales of his partner’s wild escapades “You were with your friends partying / When the alcohol kicked in / Said you wanted me dead.” Through these lines, we get a glimpse of his partner’s reckless behaviour and alarmingly erratic disposition, flip-flopping between wishing him dead and then showing up at his door with a “shovel and a rose.”

Despite the deep-seated issues at play, Gray’s lover continues to run back to him, a behaviour he believes is reflective of her ostentatious longing for all things unreachable “People like you always want back what they can’t have.” Amidst this tumultuous scenario, Gray stands firm, not willing to be swayed by hollow words or lured back into this tumultuous loop of love and loathing.

Gray makes it clear that the ‘bad guy’ label applied to him by his lover, borders on the exaggerated and even comic, as the stalker, watcher, psychopath accusations are thrown around. Resulting in the recurrent exclamation “You maniac!” Throughout this lyrical narrative, the term “maniac” symbolizes not just the partner’s unusual behaviour, but also the journey of their warped relationship.

As the song barrels towards its conclusion, Gray underlines the irony in the situation asserting, “Psychopathic, don’t be so dramatic / We had magic, but you made it tragic / Now you’re manic, honestly I’ve had it / Listen to yourself, think you need to get some help.”. He poignantly hints at a relationship that began with so much promise but was reduced to an absolute catastrophe due to the partner’s neurotic and manipulative tactics.

In essence, “Maniac” is Conan Gray’s unapologetic, darkly humorous narrative of a tumultuous relationship. The song courtesy of its stirring lyrics, crafts a tale of deceit and manipulation embedded deep within the bounds of toxic love.

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