Just in time for the spookiest week of the year, Conan Gray has dropped a new video that begs the question: Would you survive if all your exes suddenly became zombies on Halloween eve, dead-set on winning you back?
That’s the unfortunate scenario Gray faces in “Maniac,” which co-stars The End of the F***ing World actress Jessica Barden. Together, they try to fend off her ex-boyfriends, who all have stereotypical high school nicknames: The Meathead, The Nice Guy, The Art Boy, and The Dreamboat. The cinematic clip pays homage to horror classics like Dawn of the Dead and Zombieland — with a bit of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” thrown in — but Gray lightens up the action with his suave dance sequences.
As for the song itself, “Maniac” is a total ’80s fever dream, marked by shimmering synths and Gray’s quirky lyrics about a fickle ex who leaves him simultaneously amused and hurt. “Tell all of your friends that I’m crazy and drive you mad … So, why do you call me and tell me you want me back? / You maniac,” he sings on the hook, with an eye roll and a smirk.
Watch “Maniac” below, and see the video as it airs today on mtvU and MTV Live.
In a statement about the new song, Gray said, “I wrote ‘Maniac’ in the shower after getting a midnight drunk sob text from my ex. They’d been running all around town telling everyone that I was some freak who wouldn’t leave them alone when in reality, they were the freak. They were the one acting like a maniac — sending strange late-night texts and showing up at my shows unannounced. I thought it was hilarious and all my friends had dealt with the same thing, so I decided to write a cathartic post break-up song dedicated to psychotic exes.”
The 20-year-old singer also detailed the “Maniac” music video, saying, “I wanted everyone’s worst nightmare to come true — all of your exes coming back from the dead to haunt you all in one night. “Night of the Living Exes,” if you will. … I thought it’d be fun to showcase all of the stereotypes in a cheesy 80s horror movie-esque video.”
“Maniac” will appear on Gray’s upcoming debut solo album, and the singer previously told MTV News that it’s “probably [his] top song off the album.” Next up, he’ll embark on a sold-out run cross North America. The Comfort Crowd Tour kicks off on October 29 in St. Louis before wrapping up in mid-December in Los Angeles.