Cougars’ Perspectives: A “Good Riddance” review


An iPhone streaming “Full machine” by Gracie Abrams. Photo taken and edited by Joseph Jones and Anisa Tran,

Singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams released her debut studio album, “Good Riddance,” Feb. 24. Similar to her previous releases “minor” and “This is What it Feels Like,” “Good Riddance” navigates a narrative of heartbreak and mental health struggles; however, “Good Riddance” dives deeper into Abrams’ feelings about these topics.

Compared to Abrams’s other albums, sophomore Bella Spurgers says “Good Riddance” had a more mature feel.

“I think the overall vibe of the album was very calm and mature; you can really feel her growth and stories through the music,” Spurgers said.

Junior Caitlyn Gomez says “Good Riddance” was a slower, emotion-packed album.
“It was filled with reflection, regret, and growth,” Gomez said. “The vibes shifted throughout the album. In the earlier tracks, there’s a sense of regret and sadness, but as it continues and reaches the later tracks, the vibes shift to those of acceptance and almost hope. It’s not a happy-go-lucky album, but rather an album that tackles the difficult elements of being a human.”

Junior Julia Linnea-Shanks says the album revolves around painful emotions and healing from them.

“The overall theme of the album was to me dealing with pain, but healing,” Linnea-Shanks said. “I loved how honest and raw she was in her songs and how you could feel the emotion in the songs.”

The album opens with “Best,” in which Abrams reflects on a relationship with a person she wasn’t the best to. Through her lyrics, Abrams opens up about how she hurt and led on the other person. One of the best things about the track is its blunt honesty. Abrams doesn’t try to sugar coat or deny anything; the song shows how she mistreated the other person and how she regrets it. In the bridge, Abrams even acknowledges how she knows the other person gave her their best and how she neglected them and handled it the wrong way. The song is full of regret and reflection. “Best” gives listeners a hint about what’s to come later in “Good Riddance.”

Though all twelve songs on “Good Riddance” were beautifully executed, three tracks stand out.

“Full Machine” is about Abrams navigating through heartbreak and healing from an unhealthy relationship. Throughout the song, Abrams reflects on how she’s codependent and sings about how she wishes to be back in contact with the person she was in a relationship with. The lyrics of this song are emotional, heartfelt and raw. Abrams’ pain and desperation can be felt through her lyrics. Something that makes this track beautiful is Abrams’ honesty and vulnerability.

“Amelie” is the seventh track of “Good Riddance.” The song opens with Abrams recalling how she met a girl named Amelie, and how Amelie was someone who Abrams was vulnerable with and felt safe with. However, Amelie disappears, leaving Abrams to wonder where she went and if it was all a dream. The way Abrams desperately pines for Amelie is strongly felt throughout the song, making it one of the most heartbreaking tracks on “Good Riddance.”

Following “Amelie” is “Difficult,” a track in which Abrams delves into the difficulty of reaching out for help when struggling mentally. One of the things that makes this track stand out is how the upbeatness of the song contrasts the dark, honest lyrics. In her lyrics, Abrams opens up about her mental health struggles and how it’s hard for her to ask for help when she needs it. Abrams’ openness about her mental health in this track is something that makes this song relatable to listeners.

Overall, the themes of good riddance revolve around regret (“Where do we go now?”), unhealthy relationships and heartbreak (as seen in “I know it won’t work,” “I should hate you,” “Will you cry?” and “Fault line”) mental health struggles (“This is what the drugs are for”) and healing (“The blue”).

“Good Riddance” ends with the track, “Right now.” The song is about Abrams’ homesickness and how she misses her family. “Right now” is the perfect song to close out the album, as it perfectly portrays Abrams’ growth. Though her doubt and anxiety is present in “Right now” like in previous tracks, the song ends with Abrams being sure of herself. The track reflects how Abrams has grown and learned not to regret decisions she’s made. The song is slow, soothing and sweet, and listeners may be able to find comfort in the lyrics and message.

“Best” and “Right now” are two very different, contrasting songs. However, the opening and closing tracks of “Good Riddance” reflect the singer’s growth throughout the album.

“The opening and closing tracks definitely enhanced the listening experience,” Gomez said. “The tracks are very different from each other, and the growth in the album can be seen when comparing the tracks. The opening track, ‘Best’ is a song about regret. In contrast, the closing track, ‘Right now’ is about new beginnings and acceptance. It is a track about starting a new chapter of your life, leaving the regrets behind, and finally feeling like yourself again.”

The closing track of “Good Riddance” was a favorite among students, including Spurgers.

“Ever since the first listen, I’ve been obsessed with the lyrics and how it sounds,” Spurgers said.

“My favorite track of ‘Good Riddance’ has to be ‘Right now,’” Gomez said. “I think it’s beautifully written and wonderfully executed to share a message that many can relate to. One of my favorite parts of the track, if not the entire album, is when Abrams repeats the phrase, ‘I feel like myself right now’ over and over throughout the song, almost like she’s trying to convince herself to believe her own words. By the outro of the song, she really does believe her own words. As I said, it’s a beautiful track all-around with a pleasing piano tune to accompany it.”

“My favorite track was ‘The blue,’” Linnea-Shanks said. “I loved how she described falling in love unexpectedly and all the pain but bliss that comes with it. I love how she describes her lover ‘coming out of the blue, I never could’ve seen you coming.’ It truly explains the feelings of meeting someone and becoming almost surprised that you’re falling in love again.”

One of the best things about “Good Riddance” is how relatable the tracks are and how easily listeners are able to connect with Abrams.

“I related to almost all of them in different ways,” Linnea said.

Overall, “Good Riddance” was well received by listeners.

“I think it’s one of the best pieces she’s put out and I can’t wait to cry to this album for the rest of my life,” Spurgers said. “I’m so so proud of her as well and how she’s grown as an artist and as a person.”

“Good Riddance” is available to listen to on all major streaming platforms.