Gracie Abrams delivers folk-pop, power in impressive debut

Promising performer not afraid to be vulnerable

Gracie Abrams:

Good Riddance

Genre: Indie Pop

Rating: NNNN (out of 5)
Sound: Gracie Abrams embraces folk pop as she reflects on a relationship that has fallen apart.
If you like: Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Phoebe Bridgers
Best track: Best
Why you should listen: On Good Riddance, Gracie Abrams is incredibly adept at writing emotionally crushing folk-pop songs about breakups. Bright guitars and dreamy synths are paired with her trademark airy vocals, creating tear-inducing ballads.

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ON DEBUT FULL-LENGTH ALBUM Good Riddance, Gracie Abrams bares her flaws, vulnerabilities and frustrations on devastating folk-pop songs that paint a relationship that has fallen apart.

Abrams, daughter of legendary sci-fi filmmaker and composer J. J. Abrams, got her big break in 2020, with her debut EP Minor. Her second EP, This is What It Feels Like, was released in late 2021.

Taking a page out of Taylor Swift’s style of songwriting, Abram’s lyrics are hyper descriptive, making you feel like you’ve got a front-row seat to her crumbling relationship. For only being 23 years old, Abrams shows a sense of maturity rarely seen in songwriters her age.

On album opener Best, she reflects on a relationship that she didn’t put much effort into. Abrams admits, “I never was the best to you” to a partner who was sensitive and kind. Gentle staccato synths and softly strummed guitar swell into a tear-inducing bridge in which she admits she destroyed any positive feelings her partner had.

Abrams then looks back on all the wrong turns she took with Where do we go now? Fast synths paired with the repeated “Where do we go now?” in the chorus invoke a sense of helplessness and desperation. Abrams desperately wants the other person to give her an answer.

The chorus on I should hate you, a minor-key acoustic guitar ballad, is hauntingly beautiful. Abrams’s voice breaks as she cries, “I should hate you” to a partner who clearly betrayed her trust. But she can’t hate him. She still loves him too much.

Abrams’s inner turmoil extends to more than just a broken romantic relationship. On synth-heavy Difficult — the poppiest song on Good Riddance — she’s frustrated with how she handled moving out from her parents’ house, how she moved on after a relationship and why she can’t be more mature. The drums and guitar get more urgent in the chorus as she voices her inner dialogue.

In a sea of melancholy and depressing songs, The Blue is the only genuine love song on this album. Abrams falls in love with someone from Hollywood who showed up in her life “out of the blue.” On this sweet ode, featuring a haunting piano downbeat and fingerpicked acoustic guitar, Abrams exclaims, “I’ve never felt this close to someone / What if you’re my weakness?”

There’s no better song to end an album of self-discovery and vulnerability than the six-minute-long outro Right now. Despite questioning if her decision to move away from her family was the right idea, Abrams feels more like herself than ever before.

On Good Riddance, Abrams paints herself as a rollercoaster, as codependent, as angsty and frustrated. But this album feels like an acknowledgement that it’s all part of the journey to discovering the most grown-up version of herself. In laying her mistakes bare, Abrams creates space for us to know that while we make decisions that hurt others, those decisions don’t make us bad people.

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