People Watching

Album: yet to be titled (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • People watching is the act of observing people and their interactions. Based on their movements, gestures, and the way they dress and communicate, you guess another person's story. During this ode to loneliness, Conan Gray sings of sitting in a café watching a couple who are clearly smitten with each other.
  • In the second verse, Gray admits he has never been seriously in love, so he's looking in from the outside. He wants that perfect romance - the kind he's seen in others but never experienced himself.

    But I wanna feel all that love and emotion
    Be that attached to the person I'm holdin'
    Someday I'll be falling, without caution
    But for now, I'm only people watchin'


    Speaking about the song, Gray said as he watches the besotted couple "whispering sweet nothings to each other," he can't stop fantasizing about feeling that same emotion.
  • The song's lyrics comprise bits Gray eavesdropped when people watching at his college cafe. He said: "Studying them living their lives lets me live vicariously through them, in a way."
  • Conan co-wrote the track with:

    Songwriter Julia Michaels, whose credits include Selena Gomez' "Good For You" and Justin Bieber's "Sorry." She's also carved out a successful singing career, including her solo hit, "Issues," and duet with JP Saxe, "If the World Was Ending."

    Gray's frequent collaborator and producer Dan Nigro. He is best known as the co-writer/producer of Olivia Rodrigo's chart-topping Sour album.
  • Gray and Nigro enlisted the Romanian-American audio engineer Serben Ghenea for mixing. Ghenea won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year four times: Adele's 25, Bruno Mars' 24K Magic, and Taylor Swift's 1989 and Folklore.
  • Joe Mischo directed the video, which finds Gray portraying a hapless café waiter. During his busy day, he observes everyone fall in love around him while he is working. Gray said he and his best friend Ashley used to joke about how terrible they'd be as café waiters because they'd be "so distracted staring at people." So for this clip, he brought Ashley to LA and show how much of "a beautiful disaster" it would be if he were a café worker.

    Mischo, also known as Brume, is a director from Los Angeles. He also co-directed Sleeping with Sirens' "Legends" clip.

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