REVIEW: Gracie Abrams’ debut album ‘Good Riddance’ is heartbreaking and healing

Photo courtesy of Gracie Abrams and Interscope Records

Gracie Abrams, a singer-songwriter known for her delicate voice and influence on the indie-pop world, is just starting to make her mark in the music industry.

Abrams opened for Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” tour in 2022 and is set to open for part of Taylor Swift’s “The Eras” tour, all before releasing a debut album.

“Good Riddance,” Abrams’ highly anticipated debut album, was finally released on Feb. 24. One of the songs on the album, “I know it won’t work,” was listed at the number one spot on Billboard’s “Hot Trending Songs” following its release.

Prior to the album’s release, Abrams was already making huge waves in the pop world with her melancholic storytelling and her authentic, highly identifiable whispery, calming voice. 

Gaining popularity through her hit songs “21,” “I miss you, I’m sorry” and “Feels Like,” Abram’s debut album has been long awaited, and did not disappoint.

Abrams worked with highly esteemed producer Aaron Dessner and described the process of making the album as very personal to her. 

“This album means so much to me for a million different strange and complicated and delicate reasons,” Abrams wrote in an Instagram post in which she announced the release of the album. 

The first track on the album, titled “The Best,” references the album’s name with the lyrics, “You were there all the time / You’re the worst of my crimes / You fell hard, I thought, ‘Good riddance.’”

[Cover for Gracie Abrams’ debut album “Good Riddance.”]
Photo courtesy of Gracie Abrams and Interscope Records

Abrams keeps consistent with her personal and brutally honest lyrics that seem somewhat confessional, revealing her inner thoughts and reflections so intimate that listening to her album feels like reading a diary. 

Although the overall themes and tones of the album are generally consistent throughout, the album contains songs like “I know it won’t work,” “I should hate you” and “Difficult,” that are more upbeats.

Heartbreaking and healing at the same time, Abrams seems to present a different emotional perspective and feeling in each song, with some lyrics in differing songs often paralleling one another. 

For example, in “Full Machine,” she sings, “It’s just that I’ll always choose you.” Similarly, in “I know it won’t work,” she sings, “So won’t you stop holdin’ out for me when I don’t want it?”

Abrams incorporates simple yet powerful metaphors in her lyrics, singing “I’m a forest fire / you’re the kerosene,” in “Full Machine,” and “‘cause I’m your ghost right now, your house is haunted,” in “I know it won’t work.”

Abrams reigns true to her painfully self-aware lyrics and the aching beauty. She presents these feelings through her gentle, melancholy voice. 

Abrams beautifully utilizes the constant repetition of lyrics in a couple of the songs, but my personal favorite is in “The Blue,” when she repeatedly sings, “You came out of the blue like that / I never could’ve seen you coming / I think you’re everything I’ve wanted.”

Although each perspective on the songs are very different, practically all of the songs on the album are about relationships, except for the final track titled “Right Now.”

Abrams closes her album with “Right Now,” a song glittered with guilt, nostalgia and remembrance; and in a way, it makes the entire album.

As she recollects the journey that brought her to where she is today, the melody slowly builds up throughout the song. 

While describing in detail childhood memories and decisions she’s made, she concludes the song and the entire album with the lyrics “What if this is it for now? / Think I’m more alive, somehow / I feel like myself right now.”

It is apparent that Abrams is just getting started in her music career with this debut album, yet “Good Riddance” itself proves that right now, she is content and right where she needs to be.

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