Review: ‘Good Riddance’

Gracie Abrams twelve track debut album “Good Riddance” released February 24, 2023


Gracie Abrams’s “Good Riddance” cover for her album (Instagram)

by Ellie Larsen, Reporter, Assistant Editor

Gracie Abrams herself, at a fan meetup in London, asked that fans listen to the album in order, with headphones on. I did exactly that. Listening with headphones is the best advice that I could have been given, since it really is a “headphones album,” with incredible production and bass tracks. 

“Good Riddance” is a journey through self destruction, heartbreak, and healing. Starting from the beginning of the album, exploring her role in a toxic relationship, moving into acknowledging her behaviors that she knows aren’t healthy, while also acknowledging the need for change, to ending the album reflecting on all her lost relationships, and coming to the point where she feels like herself again in the process of healing. 


Some could say track 1 is Abrams’ “Best” song on the album. However, I do not. I’ve absolutely never been the problem in a relationship, so I can’t relate to this song in the least. Despite my struggles to understand where Abrams is coming from, it does not detract from her fervent vocals and repetition, a signature stylist choice of hers. 

Throughout “Best,” Abrams provides insight into the other side of a toxic relationship, describing her regret for destroying the embodiment of sensitivity because of her self-destructive tendencies and behavioral dysregulation. To me personally, this song is one of the most beautiful apologies I’ve ever heard. 

“I know it won’t work”

Nothing in “I know it won’t work” directly implies that the context is romantic. I would like to think this sound could be embodied by both platonic and romantic heartbreak. This song illustrates being stuck at a standstill, resulting in neither parties being able to move on and heal. Abrams describes a longing for each other but a recognition that  it’s not what’s best for anyone. 

Every time I listen to “I know it won’t work,” I expect the entire song to have the same upbeatness that the chorus does. This entire album has upbeat choruses and bridges and less so in the content of the verses. The trend stands out to me the most, leading me to forget that the majority of the song doesn’t have that upbeatness. 

“Full machine” 

As much as I would have liked to make a “Best” pun, “Full machine” is by far my favorite track on the album. “Full machine” features overdependence, self destruction, and romanticized delusion. Abrams paints us a picture essentially of herself chasing someone who wants nothing to do with her, taking us through the false fulfillment of a crumb of attention as well as the acknowledgement that she knows none of it is real. 

“Where do we go now?”

This album is unique in the sense that Abrams writes about the hurt that she caused other people, acknowledging her role in the toxicity and the fact they are hurting as well. Similar to “Full machine,” Abrams vocalizes being stuck in this space between, preventing both parties from healing. 

“I should hate you” 

Similar to “Full machine,”  Abrams explains that she doesn’t hate the individual who completely destroyed her, even after all the betrayal. I’m sure I have enough hate to compensate for her lack of, however. Out of all of the songs on the album, “I should hate you” stuck out to me the least, despite the fact that Abrams’ raw vocals continue to astonish me. 

“Will you cry?”

Maybe it’s how Abrams vocals blend together with the acoustic-style guitar, or maybe it’s the sprinkles of tambourine throughout the bridge. “Will you cry?” is the definition of perfection to me. From the individual guitar strums to the addictive lyricism of the song, this song fills me with happiness despite its very depressing nature. 

Progressing further into the journey of heartbreak Abrams conveys in her album, she desires to hold onto something that still causes her pain, wondering if who she is singing to will even care when she’s finally able to let go. 


“Where did you go, Amelie?” Abrams sings to a version of her younger self, wondering, pondering where she went. Reminiscing on a purer, kinder girl that she no longer knows within herself. 

As embarrassing as it is to admit, I definitely thought this song was queer during the first listen and got very excited, taking the lyrics “I met a girl once, she sort of ripped me open” and running with them. Despite the lack of queer representation in the album, “Amelie” resonates with me in a way words will never be able to describe.


If we were to put the chorus of “Difficult” and the bridge of “Will you cry?” in an arena and had them fight to the death, I’m not confident enough to place any bets on who would win. The uncertainty of leaving the past behind meets knowing you can never go back. “Difficult” is an emotional journey of leaving “home” disguised with a sanguine track.

“This is what the drugs are for” 

Abrams constantly makes me question my reality with the fact that she can have such upbeat tracks yet such horrifically sad songs. “This is what the drugs are for” feels almost sarcastic, the lines “oh look, I’m alone again” and “like all I ever do is think about you” conveys sarcastic undertones. While I’m very aware of the fact this is most likely not the case, I will be continuing on with this narrative. 

“Fault line”

Reaching a point in her healing journey, Abrams still describes a desire to return to familiarity, but she also acknowledges that she will be able to heal, showing a growing canyon in terms of the phases of healing between “Full machine” and “Fault line.” 

“The blue” 

The soul song that is holding up “Good Riddance” in terms of happiness, arguably at least. “The blue” is a breath of relief from the plaguing sadness that you endure for the first 42 minutes of the album. This song embodies the giddy excitement of falling in love in the best way possible, while also acknowledging the fear that comes with that vulnerability. 

“Right now” 

Just like that, the breath of relief is over. Abrams reflects back on all of her pain and regret that she’s left behind, communicating her journey through her soulful vocals. “Right now” is full of uncertainty and questioning all of the decisions she’s made, but equally as much, healing.

Of all the songs on “Good Riddance,” this is the only song that resulted in me crying. As the piano notes fade out as “Right now” comes to a close, you’re left hating Abrams’ guts and loving her at the same time for the emotional turmoil she just put you through.