On Friday, February 24, singer and songwriter Gracie Abrams released her debut album entitled Good Riddance. The album features 12 tracks, including singles “Difficult” and “Where do we go now?”. The album highlights Abrams's soothing vocals and heartfelt, poetic lyricism. Abrams tackles themes of growing up, guilt and failed romance alongside co-producer Aaron Dessner. Dessner is most well known for co-producing Taylor Swift’s last three albums. “Writing this record allowed me to grow up in ways I needed to. It forced me to reflect and be accountable. It allowed me to walk away from versions of myself that I no longer recognized. It allowed me to let go,” Abrams shared in an Instagram post.
Gracie Abrams gained popularity off of her first two E.P.s, This is What it Feels Like and Minor. The song “Feels Like” quickly became a TikTok sensation. Although Abrams may just be making her way into the public eye, some artists have already taken inspiration from her intimate pop feel. Olivia Rodrigo even said in an interview with Apple music that the massive hit “Driver’s License” was inspired by Abrams' work. Last year, Abrams joined Rodrigo as an opening act during the sold-out “Sour” tour.
Good Riddance takes listeners on an emotional journey of heartbreak and self-interrogation. The album sticks to Abrams's usual soft melodies and hazy vocals but introduces a new maturity to the artist's discography. It is very cohesive and relaxing without becoming boring.
Good Riddance starts with the single “Best”. The song reflects on a relationship ending and it being your own fault. “You were there all the time / You’re the worst of my crimes / You fell hard / I thought ‘Good riddance,” Abrams sings, feeling guilty for hurting the one she loved. Abrams' haunting vocals repeat “I never was the best to you” throughout the song.
The fourth track on the album, “Where do we go now?” takes on a more energetic pace without sacrificing the vulnerability featured in the album’s slower tracks. This song expresses the feeling of a relationship ending and feeling lost and alone. “Now I’m half of myself here without you / You’re the best in my life and I lost you / And we had no control when it fell through / it was one-sided hate how I hurt you,” Abrams sings in the bridge. This song revisits the theme of guilt and self-growth after a relationship.
My favorite song on Good Riddance is “Difficult.” This song was released as a single in October of 2022. The song features a lively drum beat that separates it from the rest of the album. The song speaks to the anxieties of growing up. “I hope I wake up invisible/ I’d be someone no one knows/ I guess I’m just difficult,” Abrams sings. The song’s deep lyricism heavily contrasts the upbeat tempo and creates a thoughtful listening experience.
I asked two University of Maryland students that are fans of Gracie Abrams to share their thoughts on the album.
“I like how she juxtaposes slower ‘story building’ moments with quick paced choruses. Her songs are perfect to play while driving,” said freshman chemical engineering major Arlene Schindler.
“Good Riddance is such a relaxing album that highlights her lyrics and voice, I only discovered Abrams recently but will definitely be following her moving forward,” said freshman international business major Tammy Keselman.
Abrams kicked off her sold-out Good Riddance tour in Chicago on March 6, 2023. It was also announced that she will be an opening act for Taylor Swift’s widely anticipated sold-out Eras tour. Gracie Abrams is sure to gain a lot of popularity in the next coming months and I am so excited to watch her career and music grow in the next few years!