Gracie Abrams’ debut album ‘Good Riddance’: a strong start, but listeners lose interest


Gracie Abrams’ ‘Good Riddance’

Samantha Sollitto

While albums full of confessional lyricism about heartbreak and hating oneself are a fan favorite, “Good Riddance” seems to be an album with one song stuck on repeat.

Pop albums usually have two fates when it comes to the music industry: they break multiple records and cement themselves in history as the “Pop Bible”—Taylor Swift’s “1989,” Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” and Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”—or they fail to include enough creativity that allows the listener to be able to actually differentiate between the songs.

“Good Riddance” falls victim to the latter.

Gracie Abrams’ debut album was released on Feb. 24 with “Difficult,” “Where do we go now?” and “Amelie” as the lead singles.

“Difficult” opens the album, being an upbeat song that explores the idea of difficulty within one’s mind. It allows the listener to immerse into Abrams’s brain while still being able to have a good time.

Following this was “Where do we go now?”, which kept that same pop beat and heavy lyricism. It delves into one of Abrams’ relationships, in which she knows that what they have is over, but her partner has failed to receive the memo.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Abrams acknowledged that it’s important to hold oneself accountable when relationships end. While most of her peers write about what their partners did to hurt them, Abrams takes a different approach, still expressing her sadness but also recognizing that she hurt her partner as well.

The third and final single released before the album was the slower, more folkier song, “Amelie”. It reflects on a girl who emotionally impacted Abrams, in a way she felt destroyed her.

While the lyrics may be moving, the song is boring. More than half the songs are Abrams whispering to her audience. The only memorable part of the song seems to be the repetitive chorus that shouts “So where did you go? Amelie, Amelie. Where’d you go?”

This is a problem shared by almost all the songs on the album. While Abrams’s lyricism is strong and unique, her voice is what fails her. Her softspoken manner does not work well for this pop album.

Abrams expressed in an interview with Paper magazine that producer Aaron Dessner helped create an environment that felt safe enough for her to express her vulnerability. She even stated that his acceptance of all artists was “why we made the record as quickly as we did.”

Unfortunately, they should have spent more time on it to make it a satisfying work.

“Good Riddance” is not a bad album, do not be mistaken. The themes of regret, loss and her artistic approach on accountability help form a strong piece of work for her debut. However, when listening, it felt like each song sounded too similar to the last, revealing a weakness in Abram’s artistry.

Most of the songs start off slow but eventually speed up until you’re left with a screaming chorus and soft spoken verses that don’t mesh well. They sound good individually but make it hard to truly identify when one song ends and another starts. “I should hate you” and “Will you cry?” are excellent examples of this model.

One of the standout songs on the album, “I know it won’t work,” is not an exception. But, its infectious chorus is what sets it apart from the others: “And part of me wants to walk away ‘til you really listen, I hate to look at your face and know that we’re feeling different, and part of me wants you back but I know it won’t work like that.”

“I know it won’t work” proves that simple lyricism can go a long way.

A newer generation of artists seem to be trying to achieve poetic lyricism in their work, replicating industry giants like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande or Beyonce. What they fail to realize is that those artists started somewhere too—with lyrics full of metaphors and similes—until they learned that they can write on what they know best.

Trying to replicate stars only makes new artists sound like cheaper copies of the original. Abrams is no exception. Perhaps her EP, “This is What it Feels Like,” would’ve made for a better debut album.

Abrams is set to embark on “The Good Riddance Tour” starting March 6 while also opening for Swift’s “The Eras Tour” on select dates.