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Meaning of the song ‘Memories’ by ‘Conan Gray’

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Released: 2022

“Memories” by Conan Gray paints a visceral picture of a heartache-riddled past, layered with the longing for closure, and the struggle against succumbing to an insistent, old flame that’s not ready to be snuffed out. Charged with powerful emotions and evocative images, the song traverses the internal struggles of moving on, the burden of memories, and the push-pull dynamics of a relationship that’s well past its expiration date.

From the first few lines, Gray plunges deep into the post-breakup period, a time of mourning, where one finds it difficult to look at old pictures without tears welling up. The song marks the progress of healing, illustrated by Gray’s assertion: “Now I kinda smile, I haven’t felt that in a while”. However, this healing process is soon disrupted. The line “I open up that door, see your brown eyes at the entrance” signifies the unexpected re-entry of the ex into the picture – a momentary lapse that threatens to unravel all the progress made. The repetitions of the phrase “I wish that you would stay in my memories” underline the torment of this back-and-forth, of wanting to preserve the past as a memory, yet grappling with its persistent, tangible presence.

The phrase ‘drunk in my kitchen’ paints a raw and intimate portrait of emotional turmoil. The ‘fetal position’ stands as a visual metaphor that underscores the vulnerability. It gives a vivid glimpse into the ex’s emotional state and indicates their unwillingness or inability to let go. The reference to playing ‘the victim’ emphasizes the ex’s self-pitying attitude that, coupled with their physical presence, results in a stifling atmosphere for Gray, hindering his journey towards healing.

“You see, it’s hard to find an end to something that you keep beginning. Over, and over again,” The repetition underlines the relentlessness of the situation. The repetition of the past, the repetition of mistakes, the repetition of heartache – it’s a cycle that appears unending. The lines “can’t be your friend, can’t be your lover. Can’t be the reason we hold back each other from falling in love,” reiterates this desire to break free from their intertwined fates.

Gray’s lyrics are layered with potent images that tug at the heartstrings of listeners. His references to the “one good cologne” that the ex bought during a fight and how it still lingers on Gray’s clothes use the sense of smell, a powerful trigger of memories, to reinforce the emotional turmoil. It’s a poignant representation of how residual things from the past can elicit strong emotional responses.

Overall, “Memories” is Gray’s lyrical journal, a raw, soul-baring narrative of his struggle with letting go. It’s a journey that’s beautiful in its pain and universal in its relatability, marking Gray’s distinct talent for capturing the myriad hues of human emotions in his songwriting.

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