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Good Start With "Good Riddance": Gracie Abrams Album Review

By Lily Lovette--Eagle Staff Writer

Gracie Abrams is an American singer who specializes in moody, modern, bedroom pop songs. Beginning her fascination with music at an early age, Abrams picked up musical instruments and later on began releasing song covers from artists that inspired her.

Gracie Abrams performing in Chicago on the first night of her Good Riddance tour. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

While building a fan base she went on to release multiple singles and an EP called minor that was released on July 14, 2020.

She continued making new music and put out a few singles to set the stage for her debut album Good Riddance which was recently released on February 24, 2023.

The Good Riddance album cover. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

Good Riddance is an album about leaving a relationship you gave up too much for. It dives deeper into reflection and personal accountability in fallen out relationships. It takes a sophisticated approach to whisper pop with its melodic repetition. Abrams references her album title in its opening track “Best”:

“You were the worst of my crimes/you fell hard/I thought, 'Good riddance.'”

This was a kick start to the album. As the music intensifies so does the transparency and depth of Abrams' confessions. Those admissions set the scene for the rest of the album: a journal where the author is well aware everyone can do wrong.

The second track “I Know It Won’t Work” carries that meaning beautifully. It’s about the aftermath of a complicated relationship. Though it's past the end of it, the issues are still ongoing. The chorus is a conversational lyric line with contrasts between her wants. In the first half she expresses her desire to hold on despite knowing she can’t:

“Part of me wants to walk away ‘til you really listen/I’d hate to look at your face and know that we’re feeling different.”

In the second half she turns her desperation on to her past partner trying to place blame for her feelings:

“Why won’t you try moving on for once? That might make it easy/I know we cut all the ties, but you’re never really leavin’.”

Track five on the album is “I Should Hate You” which circles back to the idea of giving too much of yourself for another person. The chorus keeps that same desperation from “I Know It Won’t Work” where Abrams tries to navigate her feelings in a different way: “I should hate you, I feel stupid like I almost crashed my car/Drivin’ home to talk about you at my table in the dark.” She can’t get past her willingness to forgive and tries to form it into regret.

Abrams performing "Fault Line" and "The Blue" back to back at her Nashville show. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the U.S Copyright Code)

Track ten “Fault Line” and track eleven “The Blue” go hand in hand. “Fault Line” features intoxicating sentiments about falling back into old habits and damaging choices:

“All my imaginary friends are scared of you/I’ve gone and cried to them in our bedroom/Most nights, I will pretend I left this sooner. ”

It paints a riveting picture of unstable partnership and the mental pandemonium it brings. In similar fashion “The Blue” - the only true love song on the album - delves into a mystic single strum ballad that sends listeners into a deep blue ocean of vulnerability and electrifying emotions. “What are you doing to me now?” Abrams asks in a simple yet impactful line in “The Blue.” She clearly asks her confidante what they are making her feel, for she doesn’t know how to explain it herself.

“Right now” is the outro to Good Riddance and it holds a significant parallel to the rest of the album as Abrams considers the nuances of growing up. Pushing aside her hurtful relationships, it’s almost as if she raises her chin and sees the things she has been missing:

“Left my past life on the ground. Think I’m more alive, somehow. I feel like myself right now.”

Abrams' words are strongest when she centers her youth, acknowledging her possible naivete. Instead of handling her emotions with relief or anger, she probes them with guilt and regret. This album was a delicate voicing of her unanswered questions. Like her previous work, Abrams' put her vulnerability into words and connected with the thoughts and feelings of her fans.

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