Conan Gray’s “Checkmate” Lyrics Meaning

Succinctly put, this is a track in which the singer is fantasizing about vengeance against his girlfriend. Yes, this is still his girlfriend and not his ex, as his main gripe with her is that she expresses love and loyalty to him yet messes with other dudes. So the primary sentiment he is expressing is one of timing her, waiting for the perfect opportunity to exclaim “checkmate”, as in beating her at the “games” she plays with his emotions.

And he is not approaching this matter from a metaphorical perspective. Instead Conan actually seems to daydream about incidents such as ‘setting fire to her lawn’, ‘wrecking her car’ and even more-serious actions. But this may not be an expression of his actual intent as much as his wishing her ill will in general. For instance, he assures homegirl that “no one is ever going to love” her, which is a manifestation of his overall desire for her to experience bad fortune, even if it is not him who is causing it. And again this sentiment is based on her ‘harming him’, from an emotional standpoint, in the first place.

Lyrics of "Checkmate"

Writing of “Checkmate”

Conan Gray is the sole writer of this song.  And he has stated he accomplished such within the timespan of four minutes.

Daniel Nigro took care of the production of “Checkmate”.

Release Date

Republic Records and Universal Music Canada released “Checkmate” on 26th, June 2019. It makes an appearance on Gray’s debut full-length album, “Kid Krow”. Actually it is the project’s first single.

The following are the subsequent singles produced by “Kid Krow”:

“Checkmate” Interpreted by Another Hand

In Checkmate, the narrator alludes to the fact that though his lover thinks she is the one in charge and hurting him behind his back, he is actually aware of everything and will take his revenge in an unexpected way.

The writer describes how this person only pays attention to him when she is drunk and deceives him all the time. He recalls how she pretends that she is in love with just him, when she is actually cheating with other guys. Although the singer is aware of this, he decides to let some time pass, allowing his partner to think she is playing her game right.

In the second verse and bridge, the writer details how he is going to carry out his payback by pretending to go on a date with her, holding her hand while there is a weapon in his other hand. He then suggests that when she least expects it, he is going to harm her, set her lawn on fire, destroy her car, waste her credit cards and do so much damage to her that she would wish she had never attempted hurting him.


Checkmate by Conan Gray is a song which covers the narrator’s scheme to get revenge on an unsuspecting lover who has been cheating and hurting him.

7 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    While the meaning seems to be correct. He never says gender. The video also never explicitly shows which gender he is with.

  2. Anandi Nirantar says:

    I am going through the same thing conan did..the song really got to me so i fell like checking out the meaning of the song online..Thanx for sharing info.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why are so many people so convinced it’s a girl his songs are about?

  4. Anonymous says:

    He mostly likely is talking about a guy because in one of his songs, “Heather” he uses “he” pronouns for the person he is in love with and wishes he was his crush’s girlfriend.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ive always pictured conans interests/partners as guys… i have no clue how the writer of this could even picture the person he reffers to as a girl, like has the writer even listened to heather??

  6. Anonymous says:

    Conan doesn’t mention the person’s gender in checkmate. He has said before that he likes men and women and doesn’t want to be labled.

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