Set against a melancholy piano backdrop, Gray expresses his decision to stop trying to prove his worth to the person who has hurt him. He unequivocally labels this individual the “winner” of a game he no longer wishes to play.
In the chorus of the song, Gray sings, “The only thing you’ve proven / Is that there’s no one who ever has done better / At making me feel worse / Now you really are the winner.”
Notably, the song is a collaboration with Grammy-winning producer Greg Kurstin, although Gray wrote the lyrics entirely on his own.
Gray shared his creative process behind the song, stating, “I wrote this song at 2 am. Everything at the piano just spilled out all at once. It was a moment where I finally felt like, ‘Fine. Great job. You did it. You hurt me more than anybody ever could hurt me,’ and it oddly felt nice. I see now that there is a certain freedom that comes from recognizing that you’ve been hurt, in no longer running, and just facing the fact that ‘you win. You hurt me.’ I hope this song helps people find a little piece of that freedom.“
“Winner” is a powerful expression of self-liberation and acceptance, marking a significant chapter in Conan Gray’s musical journey.