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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Gracie Abrams shares ‘The Secret of Us’ with near-flawless new album

The Secret of Us official album cover. Provided by Google.
‘The Secret of Us’ official album cover. Provided by Google.

Gracie Abrams has recently been garnering long overdue mainstream popularity as she opens for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. However, with several musical projects and a Grammy nomination under her belt, Abrams has already proved herself to be a stand out artist.

A talented singer and songwriter, Abrams released her debut EP minor in 2020, followed closely by This Is What It Feels Like in 2021. Abrams released her debut album Good Riddance in 2023. On June 21st, 2024, Abrams dropped her heavily anticipated sophomore album, The Secret of Us. With beautiful vocals, heartfelt lyrics, and a Taylor Swift feature, The Secret of Us is everything Gracie fans have been waiting for and more.

The official cover of the single “I miss you, I’m sorry”. Provided by Spotify.

This bold new album is audibly very different from her last, with more upbeat and expressive vocals as compared to the soft voice and toned down sounds Abrams uses in Good Riddance. A similar contrast is seen with the album covers: the cover for Good Riddance portrays a blurry, black and white image of Abrams, while The Secret of Us shows a clear, bright, and yellow portrait of the singer. Despite their differences, The Secret of Us is still on the sadder side, discussing Abrams’s feelings towards a relationship that has ended while also sharing how she is moving on. Thirteen tracks, two singles, here is The Secret of Us.

“I Love You, I’m Sorry” is the fourth song on the album, a throwback to the single “I miss you, I’m sorry” from minor. Abrams talks about how she thinks about her ex-lover and her flaws that caused their relationship to end. “That’s just the way life goes / I like to slam doors closed / Trust me, I know it’s always about me / I love you, I’m sorry,” Abrams sings in the chorus, referring to how she feels regret for the way she acted. However, she then ponders about how things will look in the future, singing “I’ll be on a boat, you’re on a plane going somewhere, same / And I’ll have a drink / Wistfully lean out the window and watch the sun set on the lake.” The guitar in the background pairs wonderfully with Abrams’s vocals, which rise and fall in volume and pitch fittingly. “I Love You, I’m Sorry” is a subtly tragic work of art, with a seemingly nonchalant but meaningful story.

Swift and Abrams performing “us” on the Eras Tour. Provided by Google.

The next and fifth track, “us” is likely the most anticipated song on the album, featuring singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Make no mistake, “us” deserves all the hype and more. Throughout the song, Abrams repeatedly asks an old lover if they miss the relationship the two had together while reminiscing about what it was like while it lasted.

The most notable part of an already brilliant song is without a doubt the bridge. “The night you were talking false prophets and profits / They make in the margins of poetry sonnets / You never read up on it, shame, could’ve learned something / Robert Bly on my nightstand, gifts from you, how ironic,” Abrams and Swift sing together. With homophones, allusions, and two talented artists with beautiful vocals, “us” is without a doubt one of the greatest musical collaborations of today.

The ninth song on The Secret of Us is titled “Gave You I Gave You I”, an initially confusing phrase. When repeated several times– which Abrams does throughout the song– it is revealed that she is saying “I gave you”, talking about all she had given to her ex just for them to end the relationship. She questions how they truly felt about her during their relationship, singing “When did you slip through my fingers, did I ever have you? / Was I just a placeholder to fill the hole inside you?” However, Abrams finally reveals that she understands why everything turned out the way it did: “And I won’t lie and claim confused when I know just what happened / You got bored and I felt used, now I’m all sad about it.” “Gave You I Gave You I” is a sonically flawless song, perfectly utilizing Abrams’s soft voice and instrumentals to create an accurate portrayal of betrayal and loss.

A glimpse of the official visualizer for “Close To You” with Abrams and her best friend Audrey Hobert. Provided by YouTube.

The thirteenth and final track on the album is one that Gracie fans have been waiting for since 2017. The long awaited song “Close To You” was finally released on June 7, 2024, making it the second single on the album, following “Risk”.

“Close To You” is different from the other songs on The Secret of Us, partially due to the fact that it was never meant to be part of the album in the first place, according to Abrams. More youthful and lighter, the song embodies longing for someone who most likely does not feel the same. With upbeat and catchy music to back memorable lyrics, Abrams has done a surprisingly good job of turning the unfortunateness of unrequited love into a song that many fans around the world can dance to. “Close To You” is a fitting end to The Secret of Us, showing that one can love again after the end of a meaningful relationship.

Other stand-out songs on the album include “Let It Happen”, with its poetic lyricism; “Tough Love”, for its comedic but real message; and “Free Now”, for its perfect bridge and outro.

The Secret of Us truly has no skips, surpassing even Good Riddance with Abrams’s immense growth. The meaningful lyrics and beautiful vocals combined with fitting background music have resulted in this masterpiece of an album. Though each song shares Abrams’s talent, they are excellent in their own way and have their own distinct story to tell. However, “Good Luck, Charlie”, though a wonderful song, felt out of place in the album in terms of its story and message. It is addressed to Abrams’s best friend’s ex-boyfriend about the relationship between him and her best friend, Audrey Hobert.

With this album, Abrams reminds people of why her name is known and continues to grow in the music industry. Her unique voice and her ability to convey meaning through cleverly crafted lyrics are just a few aspects of her talent seen through her music. If you enjoyed The Secret of Us, I recommend taking a listen to GUTS by Olivia Rodrigo for more vulnerable lyricism and Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd by Lana Del Rey for similar, softer vocals.

9.7/10

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About the Contributor
Aarshia Bhattacharyya
Aarshia Bhattacharyya, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Aarshia Bhattacharyya, and I’m a freshman staff writer for the WA Ghostwriter! This is my first year on the Ghostwriter, and I’m so excited to be able to use my love for writing to contribute to the paper! I joined the newspaper because I love writing about stories I care about and am interested in. In my free time, I love baking, reading, writing, spending time with my friends, painting, and listening to music. Outside of school, I do dance and swim, two of my favorite sports! 

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