“Good Riddance” takes a unique, confessional tone


Justin Higuchi via Flickr

Abrams captures attention in the music industry with the release of her debut album “Good Riddance.”

A new pop sound is rising to the forefront of music: young singers whispering confessions of love and trauma late into the night. At the forefront of this movement is singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams, whose debut album “Good Riddance” takes up a unique confessional tone, refusing any censorship of the truth.

Abrams was first recognized by the music industry with her release of the Extended Play “Minor” in 2020, which later went on to inspire Olivia Rodrigo’s pop hit “drivers license.” She is also one of the openers for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, and is now embarking on her own tour performing “Good Riddance.”

The album is Abrams’s most personal project yet, leading listeners through her journey with healing and guilt. Abrams reflects on specific moments she’s leaving in the past, dwelling on old versions of herself. She confesses entirely to the harm she’s inflicted and exposes the emotional journey that came with this reflection.

“Good Riddance” opens with “Best,” which discusses the toxic habits and behaviors that resulted from her internal struggle with self-isolation. “Best” exhibits Abrams’s complete honesty in lyricism, admitting to her mistakes in her past relationship in a way that feels candid, creating immediate trust between Abrams and the listener. The bridge ties the song together with the almost invasively blunt lyric “All of your feelings, I played with them.”  

Each subsequent track is placed in an order that feels meticulous and natural at the same time, as her thought process reveals itself further through the album. It feels like her own thoughts are unraveling at the very moment. Abrams’ emotions fluctuate rapidly throughout the songs as she allows listeners to peer into all aspects of her life, using the inconsistency of her music and lyricism to capture the process of growing into a new person, and finally coping with hardship in a healthy way.

The responses to this album appear extreme on both ends. 

Abrams wrote the album to expose her unadulterated emotions and reflections, making the album targeted to an audience that resonates with that raw lived experience.

While many fans are wonderstruck by Gracie’s songwriting, much of the general public came to the conclusion that “Good Riddance” doesn’t work. Gracie’s use of lyrical repetition is at times interpreted as predictable or lacking creativity. To some ears, her overall consistent pacing through the tracks falls flat and creates a well-known feeling — every song sounds the same.

That’s why I came to this conclusion: You either get it or you don’t.

It sounds harsher than it really is. Abrams wrote the album to expose her unadulterated emotions and reflections, making the album targeted to an audience that resonates with that raw lived experience. 

Abrams’s past music focused more on frustration towards others rather than reflection and moving forward, which is why “Good Riddance” is so far distinguished from her past EPs “This Is What It Feels Like” and “Minor.” 

Abrams stresses this unfiltered feeling further with her incessant repetition. On songs like “Where do we go now?” and “I should hate you,” she repeats the title lines more as the song progresses, allowing the listener to feel Abrams spiraling the longer she reflects. 

The album closes with the track “Right now,” where Abrams expresses more of her feelings in the very moment, rather than reflecting on her past. She remains unfiltered with her feelings, closing off the album in a similar way that it opens. The last line, “I feel like myself right now,” closes off “Good Riddance” ultimately showing her growth and self-discovery.

Abrams exposes herself and her journey entirely as she shows her experience in its true form, through the spiraling, repetition and blunt confessions.