Who hurt Gracie Abrams?

Independent singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams released her debut album, “Good Riddance,” Feb. 24. Fans had been waiting for a full album since the release of Abrams’ first EP, “This Is What It Feels Like,” released Nov. 12, 2021. The twelve-track album left fans speechless as Abrams displayed her excellent songwriting techniques and musicality. 

Abrams’ new album has proved to be a huge success, amassing over 10 million Spotify streams for the track “I know it won’t work.” The album certainly lived up to the hype however the album seems to pigeonhole Abrams’ songwriting into a very specific niche best described as sad-girl indie.

The first track, titled “Best,” name-drops the album title in the first verse with the line, “You fell hard / I thought, ‘Good riddance.’” In this song, Abrams reminisces on an old relationship and reflects on how she treated someone she once loved. Abrams states her ex-partner was too sensitive and that she was neglectful. This song is perfect for those with an avoidant attachment style, however, the bridge of the song leaves some to be desired. The bridge doesn’t stand out as particularly special in comparison to other songs on the album, so it’s disappointing to hear a lackluster bridge opening the album.

“I know it won’t work” has become an internet sensation since the release of “Good Riddance,” and for a good reason. Abrams uses her gut-wrenching storytelling skills to express her frustration with an ex-lover, stating, “‘Cause part of me wants you back but I know it won’t work like that, huh?”. 

This song highlights the artist’s vocal range and lyricism, with beautifully painful lyrics such as “What if I’m not worth the time and breath I know you’re savin’?” and “I’d hate to look at your face and know that we’re feeling different.” Sonically, this track is catchy and effectively uses dynamic contrast between the highs and lows of the piece, making it my personal favorite of the twelve tracks.

However, the fourth track, “I should hate you,” comes in at a close second. Abrams’ vocals perfectly compliment the acoustic guitar track and make wonderful use of rhythm and spacing to create a powerful song about the introspection of former relationships. During the bridge, Abrams wails, “I should hate you / I feel stupid like I almost crashed my car,” and “I swear to God, I’d kill you / If I loved you less hard,” which packs quite a punch for any listener haunted by the ghost of lovers past. 

Another exceptional track, titled “This is what the drugs are for,” depicts drug use as a form of escapism for Abrams as she tries to forget about someone no longer in her life. However, these attempts prove futile as the chorus rings, “All distractions in the end / Don’t work, I’m left to sit and think about you.” “This is what the drugs are for” is unique to the album, as it is the only track title that references a line in the verse instead of a repeated word or phrase found in the chorus. Abrams takes an unexpected turn in style with this track, veering more into the folk genre than any other song on the album. The instrumentation of this song tricks the listener into thinking that the song will be cheerful and upbeat, while only the latter is true. 

Overall, “Good Riddance” is a beautiful, raw and expressive album that details the many stages of grief that come after the death of an intense personal relationship. However, there’s not much sonic variety from song to song, making the album feel slightly flat and lifeless. Readers going to the Kansas City leg of Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” will be lucky enough to cry along with Abrams as she opens by performing songs from “Good Riddance” live at Arrowhead Stadium July 7 and 8 of this year. For a debut album, this is excellent work from Gracie Abrams, and shows great potential for future projects. “Good Riddance” receives 4 out of 5 sad guitars.