Say “hello” to ‘Good Riddance’


Courtesy of Gracie Abrams (@gracieabrams on Instagram)

The official album cover of Good Riddance.

Grace Hsu, Staff Writer

It is often said that global superstar Taylor Swift has three non-biological children: Gracie Abrams, Conan Gray, and Olivia Rodrigo. Indeed, all of her “children” have songs stylistically similar to Swift’s, but all have their own talents and quirks. 

Abrams in particular is known for her relatable, heartbreakingly honest lyrics. With an angelic voice, she sings over soft instrumentals and is sometimes accompanied by cheerful beats and synths. On Feb. 24, she released her debut bedroom-pop album Good Riddance. In typical Abrams fashion, in the album, her voice stands out, and her songwriting is vivid. While most artists sing about how other people have treated them badly, Abrams sings about her own wrongdoings and mental health.

The album is composed of 12 tracks that are musically similar to the songs on her EP This is What it Feels Like. However, Good Riddance is a step up from This is What it Feels Like. Even in just two years, from the lyrics and style of the songs, it is clear how the 23-year-old has matured from a disconsolate teenager to a self-aware young woman. According to Abrams, the album is more than just a breakup album—it’s also about a past life, evolving, and growing up. She wrote the songs to feel like versions of an apology.

Abrams is gaining fame as she will be opening for Swift’s Eras Tour, singing at 30 shows over five months. Although she is a small artist with only 7.8 million monthly followers on Spotify, Good Riddance was #5 on the charts for Spotify’s top debut albums globally between Feb. 24-25.

The album opens with a confessional and gut-wrenching song “Best”. In the song, Abrams admits to mistreating a partner and knowing that she wasn’t the best for him. During the bridge, she sings about her regret and sorrow for lying to her partner and playing with their feelings. The song is painfully honest and sets the tone for the rest of the album perfectly. “Best” could easily take the title of the best song on Good Riddance.

A standout song is “I know it won’t work”, a deceptively cheerful song about loving somebody who loves you back, but knowing that the relationship wouldn’t work. In typical Abrams fashion, the song has sad lyrics over a cheerful drum beat. “I know it won’t work” is perhaps Abrams’s best song lyrically. One of the verses has lyrics that are reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s. Abrams sings, “Just brush me off / cause I’m your ghost right now, your house is haunted.”

“I should hate you” is one of the few songs on Good Riddance where Abrams sings about somebody treating her poorly. The lyrics are relatable for many as they are about being in a toxic, one-sided relationship where someone puts in a lot of effort but their partner doesn’t meet them halfway. The heartbreaking lyrics over an acoustic guitar combine to form a diaristic song that feels like it is written right in her bedroom. 

On the other hand, “The blue” is one of only two songs Abrams has ever released about a happy relationship. She sings about meeting her twin flame, who helped her through tough times. The song feels freeing, like the light at the end of a tunnel.  Abrams’s soft voice accentuates the calming instrumentals, making for a very beautiful song.

One of the most notable tracks on the album is “Amelie”, a wistful ballad that feels very personal and vulnerable. The song is influenced by the 2011 French romantic comedy Amelie, but Abrams has said that the song is about an extremely haunting feeling she has experienced and written about; most of the heartbreaking lyrics come directly from her journal entries. In the song, Abrams cries out, asking where Amelie went and questioning if she was just a dream. Recorded in just one take, “Amelie” is the most impressive song on the album vocally, as Abrams sings with different components of her voice. Her personal connection to the song shows in her voice – it’s raspy and breathy at times, but full of emotion.

Good Riddance had only two flaws. First, for me, This is What it Feels Like was more enjoyable for me to listen to. As a freshman in high school, Abrams’s youthful songs feel more relatable. Second, upon the first listen, the songs seem to blend together, with each song almost sounding the same. But with each listen, the songs become more distinct: the different stories emerge and different melodies and effects become prominent in each song. This is an album that grows on you.

Nevertheless, Good Riddance is definitely worth listening to, whether you are doing homework, studying, or just looking for some calm music to wind down to. The album is perfect for any indie-pop listener, with no skips. If you like Taylor Swift’s albums folklore and evermore, Good Riddance is sonically similar since producer Aaron Dessner had a hand in all three albums. Fans of Phoebe Bridgers and Lizzy McAlpine will enjoy Abrams’s soft and lyrically-beautiful songs.