The haunting of Gracie Abrams’ melancholic melodies

By Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor

If there’s a discography to make you feel like you live in the movie series “Twilight,” it is Gracie Abrams’ debut album “Good Riddance.” The album, released Feb. 24, transports listeners to a dark escape using minimal production and charming lyricism.

Abrams’ unique style and hauntingly beautiful voice has captured the attention of young adult listeners worldwide, making her one of the most promising young artists in the industry today. With introspective, raw, and emotional lyrics such as “I’m a forest fire / you’re the kerosene,” she has become a voice for a generation seeking authenticity and vulnerability in their music.

Abrams revealed a never-before-seen side of herself in “Good Riddance,” delving further into personal accountability and earnestly meditating on the effects of complicated relationships. The aesthetic of the album encompasses dark themes such as self-destruction and anxiety, adding emphasis to the dark lyricism. 

Monotone, dark lyrics have proven to be Abram’s specialty following her release of debut EP “minor” in 2021, which includes the singles “long sleeves,” “friend,” and “brush fire.” The EP was well-received by critics and fans, and showcases Abrams’ songwriting style.

This style is exemplified in the most unique song on the album titled “I know it won’t work,” a track about walking away when love is still there, but knowing the story won’t end with the two lovers together. The song is upbeat and fast paced, a subtle contrast to the themes of its lyrics, and the narrative throughout the song is enhanced with lyrics like “I’m your ghost right now / your house is haunted.” 

The first song of the album, “Best,” displays a deeper message than the other tracks that fail to deliver on their promise of vulnerability, such as “Amelie” and “The blue.” However, “Best” brings a contrasting energy to the album different from the rest: confession. 

In the song, Abrams owns up to how she feels about not being the victim in this song. The chorus is particularly poignant, with the up-and-coming artist singing, “I never was the best to you / I destroyed every silver lining you had.” This level of honesty and self-awareness sets “Best” apart from the other tracks on the album, making it a standout for listeners who appreciate vulnerability in music.

A personal favorite is the outro, “Right Now.” Arguably the most personal song on the album, this track’s lyrics explore Abram’s fight within herself as she misses her past, while breaking into her future. The minimalist production—just a piano and subtle strings—allows Abrams’ voice and lyrics to take center stage, creating an intimate and emotional listening experience. The lyrics, “We’re collectively hopin’ that the drive will be short / it’s the best and a curse,” highlights her mediation on the meaning of her life in the spotlight as an introvert, and how it feels to grieve and still have to move on. The use of metaphors, like “You’re a bad holiday / you’re the drug that I take,” throughout the song makes it a memorable and thought-provoking addition to the album.

Other songs in the album such as “Will you cry?” haunt the listener with the lyrics “Now you walk through me with my heart heavy / breaking my reverie / I could die.” The lyrics touch on themes of love, loss, and vulnerability, and the trademark minimal production allows Abrams’ voice to shine. “Will you cry?” has quickly become a fan favorite, and been praised for its raw and honest portrayal of heartbreak on social media.

Despite the occasional tedium in her debut album, Abrams’ soft, melodic voice is a testament to her talent and potential as an artist; she doesn’t need to belt her words to exemplify what she is conveying. Nonetheless, the record can sometimes be boring due to melodic repetition and hints of light instruments, making you crave a more refined, intriguing approach to soft pop.

Although the minimal production supports strong lyricism, it makes certain songs, like “This is what the drugs are for” and “Fault line,” less personable—this can be frustrating considering the abundance of literary lyrics present throughout the album in certain songs, some of which present a storyline only a novelist can construct. As Abrams continues to grow and evolve, it will be exciting to see how she refines her sound and pushes her boundaries.

The album sometimes offers bland instrumentals but does not lack emotional vulnerability and expertise in storytelling. Abrams’ album is a must-listen for fans of heartfelt and introspective music—it  haunts its listeners with low melodies and acoustic hits, leaving them changed with the echo of its lyrics.