‘Good Riddance’ Is A Roller Coaster Of An Album Made By A Self-Proclaimed Cathartic Songwriter

Zora Hollie, Reporter

In her debut album Good Riddance, released on February 24, 23-year-old singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams makes it clear she uses songwriting as an escape from her emotions. 

Similar to her past EPs Minor and This Is What It Feels Like, listening to Good Riddance elicits a multitude of feelings. For some songs, I felt like crawling under the covers with my headphones, for others, I immediately wanted to learn the words and sing along. 

In the album opener, “Best,” Abrams explores feelings of accountability, regretfully repeating, “I never was the best to you.” This signifies personal growth for Abrams that is admirable—the ability to recognize the mistakes you’ve made in a past relationship shows a commendable level of maturity. 

With a few songs, Abrams conveys the struggle of longing for a relationship you know wasn’t good for you. The song “Full machine,” skillfully reveals Abrams is having trouble moving on: “I’m a shameless caller / You’re a full machine.” For some, this lyric can feel like a personal attack, reminding people of that one angry text or needy voicemail they wish they could unsend. 

Abrams also explores feelings unrelated to romantic relationships. In the lead single, “Difficult,” and the album closer, “Right now” Abrams copes with homesickness, “And I’ve been thinkin’ if I move out this year / I’ll feel my parents slipping.” For me, a high school senior who’s looking at moving across the country in a few short months, these lyrics hit close to home. 

This rollercoaster of emotions may seem incohesive, but is unified by The National’s Aaron Dessner’s signature atmospheric production style. With melancholy acoustic guitar and the occasional pop of piano or synth, Dessner makes a perfect foundation to highlight Abrams’ spiraling feelings. Combined with her broken, breathy vocals Good Riddance successfully makes you feel like your heart is shattering into a million pieces. 

It’s no wonder the album is so heartbreaking, when Abrams herself described the songwriting process as an act of catharsis. Like those who’ve come before her—Taylor Swift, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks—Abrams has a unique talent of harnessing her own painful experiences and turning them into songs people can relate to. 

Good Riddance debuted at #5 on Spotify’s Top Albums Debut Global chart, and it won’t be surprising if Abrams’ popularity continues to grow from there. In March, she’ll be going on a sold-out tour for her new album. Shortly after, Abrams will be opening at 30 shows for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. Last week, you may or may not have seen Good Riddance written across the sky above several locations in Los Angeles. 

“I hope with my whole heart that there’s something in here that makes you feel less alone. I’ll be thanking you all for the rest of my life for taking this record and making it yours,” Abrams said via Instagram.