Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Good Riddance’ redefines the lyrical pop genre

Gracie Abrams’ album review: accepting the blame
Courtesy of the Facebook page of Gracie Abrams.

It’s been two weeks since Gracie Abrams released her debut album, and it remains a hotbed of discussion within the music industry.

Gracie Abrams is the daughter of JJ Abrams, director of films such as Star Trek and Star Wars, and film producer Katie McGrath. Despite being labeled a “nepotism baby,” Abrams has made a name for herself in the music industry. Previously releasing two EPs, “minor” and “This is What it Feels Like,” Abrams has explored her personal life and solidified a place for herself in the pop genre. After getting her foot in the door, Abrams has finally released her debut album; it is certainly worth all the talk.

This album beautifully and authentically captures avoidant connection. The tracks effectively demonstrate how pushing someone away also has an impact on the individual, just as much as the person they are abandoning. The album catalogues how damaged individuals can inflict harm on others, even though they are not necessarily bad people — they simply don’t know any better.

In an interview with V Magazine, Abrams explains that the title of the album, “Good Riddance,” means surrendering to change. Her lyrics are conversational, concise and contain nostalgic imagery.

Everyone can find parts of themselves within the lyrics of this album. It is the kind of album you put on when it’s cold at night, the world is covered in snow and the only light outside is the glow of the streetlights smiling down at you. It’s an album for contemplation.

Abrams admits to her faults in the track “Best.” Throughout this heartfelt song, she takes the blame, pointing out all her wrongs during the song’s bridge. She sings, “All of your feelings, I played with them / Go ahead, we can just call it conditionin’ / We were too different, you were so sensitive / Gave me the best of that, I was so negligent.”

When writing about relationships, Abrams has carved out a special place for herself as the singer who accepts responsibility in her breakup songs. “Best” can be relatable to those who struggle with self-worth and those who are self-aware of their wrongs. Many people can admit to feeling the immense guilt Abrams describes in this melancholy song, and it’s an authentic account of brutal honesty.

“I know it won’t work” illuminates the complications of ending a long-term relationship. Abrams is acutely self-aware of her past; the album as a whole explores the ending of a relationship in its complexity. She sings, “And part of me wants you back / but I know it won’t work like that.”

Abrams acknowledges that it’s time to let that person go and finally move on. In addition to the short, to-the-point explanations of why she wants to leave, she uses metaphors to explain how she feels, such as the line, “’Cause I’m your ghost right now, your house is haunted.”

“Full Machine” dictates the inevitable angst Abrams subconsciously knew was coming. She explains, “I’m a forest fire / You’re the kerosene.” She acknowledges that she is self-destructive, but the other person fueled the fire. “Where do we go now?” marks the turning point in the album and is a fitting transitional song. Instead of blaming herself, she collects herself and questions how to move forward.

“I should hate you” and “This is what the drugs are for” explain the desperation and anger felt through such experiences. In contrast, “Amelie,” “Will you cry?” and “Fault line” use soft melodies coupled with melancholic guitar strums and wistful vocals. These songs recollect experiences in an atmospheric and dreadfully honest way that makes listeners empathize with Abrams in these emotions. 

“Difficult,” “The blue” and “Right now” all wrestle with feelings of growing up and leaving old lives behind. “The blue” takes on a more hopeful note, while “Right now” tackles the complex emotion of homesickness. These tracks are relatable for many college students who feel as though they have lost their place; the songs speak to finding yourself while mourning who you once were.

The album ends on an optimistic note, with Abrams repeating the phrase, “I feel like myself right now,” four times as the song fades out.

Abrams touches listeners with an immense emotional transparency that allows her to captivate  all who listen. Whereas most pop songs involve outward expressions of emotion, Abrams looks inward and dissects the parts of herself that most people would not. She explores personal accountability, which sets her apart from many popular artists. It’s clear Abrams has a bright future ahead.

Kaviya Raja can be reached at [email protected].

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