Gracie Abrams: Good Riddance Album Review

Gracie Abrams is a baby of the industry in two ways: her father is Star Wars director and Lost co-creator JJ Abrams, and his mothers are Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers. The artist’s debut EP in 2020 minor is a collection of ashen-voiced diaristic tracks, reminiscent of the candid disclosure of its predecessors. Despite this inspired the revelation song by Olivia Rodrigo and has amassed nearly 300 million streams on Spotify, the EP is underdeveloped, with simple production and promising (but sometimes clichéd) confessional writing. His full-length debut have a good trip delves into personal responsibility and candid reflection on the consequences of complex relationships, revealing more of Abrams than ever before. But with melodic repetition and unadventurous production, the record often bogs down, leaving you longing for a more sophisticated and compelling take on whisper pop.

Abrams’ creative relationship with producer/co-writer Aaron Dessner is central to have a good trip. While the two collaborated on some songs for their 2021 EP This is what it feels like, Abrams described their dynamic on this record as “a very small bubble, which felt like such a safe space to work on what I needed to process on these songs.” This solace is palpable throughout the record: there are moments that display an admirable capacity for self-interrogation (“I used to lie to your face 20 times a day/It was my weird little addiction” on “Best”), even if others Feel like a high school lesson in writing a metaphor (“I’m your ghost right now/Your house is haunted”; “I’m a roller coaster/You’re a dead end” in “I Know It Won’t Work” and “Machine complete”, respectively).

The duo’s work mostly stays inside the box here. Taylor Swift’s recent collaborations with Dessner brought her songwriting chops to the fore, while adding a newfound subtlety to her work, such as the understated awkwardness of 5/4 “take it” and the unexpected rhythm of “closing.” Knowing what she is capable of inspiring, her input feels silenced in have a good trip. What it does offer are dainty acoustic guitars, pastel percussion, and the occasional unique flourish. Abrams’ voice is soothing and fuzzy, but the whispery quality of him risks being static. Repetitive low-note melodies make this problem especially apparent; on tracks like “The Blue” and “Best,” Abrams’ vocal performance sometimes lacks the energy needed to keep the songs engaging. He wants her to wander somewhere unpredictable, to do something that makes these seemingly intimate moments more special.

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some songs in have a good trip don’t live up to their promise of vulnerability, a frustrating truth considering the abundance of literary lyrics here. “Where do we go now?” tackles a failed relationship at a crossroads; in each verse, Abrams succinctly captures the guilt and confusion that accompany romantic uncertainty. But the relentless pulse of the B-flat synth and the constant repetition of the question in the song’s title quickly lead to tedium. With each hook, the production expands bit by bit, but each time it recedes, the track’s valuable momentum diminishes. Maybe this is the point; the song is, after all, about not knowing where to go. But just because it can be intentional doesn’t mean it works. If it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere… it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere.

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